When you took your marriage vows, you likely promised to stay committed until death. However, in today’s modern times, divorce has become more and more common, and no longer holds the stigma it once did. It’s challenging to face the end of your marriage. The court proceedings, custody of your children, dividing up your property, and the severing of ties is often an emotional and bitter battle.
Contested or Uncontested Divorce
If you agree on everything, then you can file for a dissolution or an uncontested divorce. However, if you are unable to agree on the terms of your divorce, then eventually the court will be forced to render a decision, which makes it a contested case. Never step into the courtroom with unresolved issues without proper legal representation. Your future depends on it.
If you’ve been served with divorce papers, the other party doesn’t need your participation to receive a decree from the court. If you do nothing, then the judge will take your silence as an answer in absentia. However, you can and should oppose the divorce if you don’t agree with the terms. It pays to have a legal team looking over the paperwork to ensure things are being split fairly and your rights and future are protected.
Filling A Divorce Petition
When one party files a divorce petition, they must also file other documents required by the state of New Jersey. When the other party is served there will be a summons included that instructs you to respond to the claims or dispute anything that you don’t agree on. The petition has all your pertinent information, including your names, date of marriage, the names and ages of your children and what you are generally seeking from the divorce. You are required to be served these documents by personal service or by mail if you sign an acknowledgment of service.
Once you have received the paperwork, the court will be notified of service, and the proceedings will continue. You will find a date that you must respond by, which is 35 days after you were served. It’s your right to dispute anything that you don’t agree with, but you should have a Middlesex County family law attorney help you in this matter.
If the allotted time passes and you have not responded, then your spouse may file for a default judgment. The other party can ask for a final hearing date, and the judge will award the divorce decree. The judge has no additional information except the original petition and a document your spouse will submit stating in detail what they are seeking. Thus, unless you respond the judge will grant the award based on the facts at hand. Don’t let your spouse get a divorce on their terms. You have rights and should dispute anything that is not true or was erroneously stated.
Filing A Counterclaim
Matters of the heart often get messy, especially in a court of law. It’s best to have a family law attorney to answer the petition. They will ask for your side of the story and dispute anything that was told to the court in error. You can raise issues regarding child custody, child support, alimony, assets, division of debts, and any other applicable issues. The response can be used to say that you disagree with the petition, but you don’t want to delay the proceedings.
Oftentimes a counterclaim will be filed. This paperwork will include your proposed terms. It’s not uncommon for the court to hold pre-trial hearings on motions made by either party, and things can be extended way beyond the intended hearing date. It’s imperative to have a family law attorney guiding you as things can get quite heated. A Middlesex County divorce attorney doesn’t get involved in the dramatic or emotional aspects of the case. They stick to the law and will handle the drama on your behalf.
Hiring A Team To Handle These Emotional Proceedings
If you are facing a divorce and not sure which direction to turn, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance. Contact us for more information.