Need an Uncontested Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey?

Our family law attorneys can help you navigate the process of an uncontested divorce.

Logo 888-815-3649
Uncontested Divorce Lawyers in New Jersey

A couple signing divorce papers.

When spouses file for a divorce in New Jersey, they can opt for either a contested or uncontested divorce. Depending on how much both sides can agree on the issues surrounding the marriage dissolution, they may prefer one over the other. 

Retaining an attorney is a good idea for both forms of divorce, but it is especially important for a contested divorce because disputes need to be resolved through mediation or in court. During this emotionally difficult and overwhelming time, you can rely on an experienced attorney at Rosenblum Law. Our attorneys will be able to guide you through the complexities of the process and help ensure that your needs are adequately represented. 

Understanding Contested and Uncontested Divorce in New Jersey

There are several important differences between contested and uncontested divorces.

Contested Divorce 

In a contested divorce, one or both spouses dispute what the other demands from the dissolution. Common areas of disagreement include: 

Contested divorces by default tend to take longer and be more expensive than uncontested divorces, because they typically require more involvement of attorneys and the court to settle disputes. Though there are avenues available to settle the disputes outside of court, such as arbitration and mediation, these also take time. 

Briefly, the legal process of a contested divorce in New Jersey involves the following steps:

  1. The party seeking the divorce files all of the necessary paperwork with the court and serves it on the other spouse.
  2. The court schedules the pretrial conferences and other steps, some of which include case management conferences, custody and parenting time, mediation, and discovery (the exchange of information that will be used in court).
  3. The court schedules the trial if parties have not reached a settlement. 

Uncontested Divorce 

If there is no dispute or disagreement over divorce terms, then an uncontested divorce may be the way to go. To qualify for an uncontested divorce, the parties must meet the following basic requirements:

  1. Agreement on the grounds for divorce, which can be either “fault” or “no fault”. There are different kinds of fault grounds; a no-fault divorce means there are  “irreconcilable differences”, but neither spouse wishes to prove wrongdoings of the other spouse
  2. Residency established in New Jersey by at least one of the spouses for a year preceding the filing of the divorce action.
  3. Agreement on all the issues arising from the divorce, such as property and asset distribution, alimony, custody, etc. 

By filing an uncontested divorce, parties may be able to finalize the matter much quicker while reducing legal fees. 

The Role of an Attorney in a Contested Divorce

Attorneys play an integral role in contested divorces. They will help their clients understand their rights and help protect their interests in the divorce proceedings. 

For example, attorneys are well-equipped to handle negotiations on key issues, such as child support, alimony, or the division of assets. An experienced attorney will be able to communicate their client’s desires effectively, counsel them during mediation, review paperwork, file all necessary legal documents, and ensure that they are not being taken advantage of. 

Should a trial be necessary, the attorneys will work extensively with their clients during the discovery phase, also known as the evidence-gathering phase. Much of the work of the litigation process takes place during this initial step. Evidence gathering may include deposing witnesses, hiring experts, interviewing the children, and other actions necessary to bolster a client’s case.  

Once a court date has been set and the discovery phase has passed, the case will be heard by a judge with no jury. As in any trial, both parties will have the opportunity to present their side. The judge will then issue the final divorce order. An attorney’s guidance can make the entire process of a contested divorce less daunting and time-consuming. 

Transitioning from Contested to Uncontested Divorce: How an Attorney Can Help

Ideally, parties that started out in a contested divorce can transition to an uncontested divorce. As mentioned above, transitioning to an uncontested divorce means that both sides have reached an agreement on all of the major issues surrounding the divorce. Therefore, there is no reason to litigate, with all of the time, expense, and emotional energy that entails.

Experienced attorneys can use a number of mediation and negotiation strategies to resolve disputes and transition the couple from a contested to an uncontested divorce. For example, they can:

  • Stay objective with less emotional involvement, which allows them to think more rationally about the issues and devise flexible solutions
  • Pick the right mediator and make sure that one side is not overwhelming the other in negotiations. 
  • Draft and review agreements on division of assets, child custody, support, etc.

Financial Implications of a Contested Divorce

According to Forbes, the median divorce in the U.S. in 2022 was $7,000. The average ranges between $15,000 and $20,000. 

The cost of a contested divorce depends on a variety of factors, including: 

  • The number of issues the spouses are contesting 
  • Attorney fees
  • The length of the negotiations (which directly affects attorney fees)
  • Involvement of child custody issues 
  • If the couple lives in an urban or rural area 

Attorneys can help manage these costs by trying to settle out of court through good-faith negotiations. If the opposing attorneys can bring both parties to agreement on the major issues, they can transition to an uncontested divorce, which will save attendant costs by not involving the court. 

Child Custody and Support in Contested Divorces

In New Jersey, a variety of factors are considered before deciding on the best custody arrangement for the child. If the child is old and mature enough to make an informed decision, the judge may take the child’s wishes into consideration when deciding custody. 

 A court considers a variety of factors when making a decision on child custody, including:

  • The overall needs of the child
  • The child’s relationship with each parent 
  • The child’s relationship with any siblings
  • The stability of each parent’s home
  • The fitness of each parent to care for the child 
  • The parent’s employment obligations

New Jersey uses the income shares model for calculating child support. Under the income shares model, the incomes of both parents are added together, and the anticipated monthly cost of raising the child is calculated. A parent’s share of child support will be equal to their share of the combined income. The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are also used as a guide to evaluate factors in deciding child support, such as: 

  • The total number of children 
  • Whether a party is receiving or paying alimony from the divorce 
  • Costs of work-related childcare
  • If a parent has a child from a previous relationship 

Division of Assets and Debts

Equitable distribution is the principle by which property is divided in New Jersey in a divorce proceeding. This does not necessarily mean equal distribution. Rather, the court will look to the following factors (among others) when deciding how to divide property and other assets:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of the parties
  • The income or property brought to the marriage by each party
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Any written agreement, such as a prenuptial agreement, made before or during the marriage concerning property distribution

The division of debt depends on for whose benefit the debt was primarily incurred. For example, a debt that both spouses cosigned on will be divided between them. A debt that a spouse incurred on their own, like personal property primarily used by them, will be assigned to that spouse.


Do you have to go to court for an uncontested divorce in New Jersey?

No. However, the person filing for the divorce must notify the court that they are filing for an uncontested divorce. The defendant’s spouse also has to file an appearance form stating that they do not contest the divorce, but are prepared to appear before the court on whatever issues the two spouses will be resolving in the divorce.

Is spousal support mandatory in New Jersey?

No. The court considers the financial circumstances of both spouses individually when deciding on whether (and how much) spousal support to grant. If both spouses are on an equal financial footing, then the court is unlikely to grant spousal support; this is generally reserved for when there is a significant imbalance in the financial positions of the spouses post-divorce.

Can you get a divorce without the other person signing in New Jersey?

Yes. The consent of the other spouse is not a requirement. If the other spouse does not answer the summons, the court will enter a default judgment. This is a form of uncontested divorce. 

The spouse filing for the divorce will have to show that they made reasonable efforts to locate their partner and serve the divorce papers. If the other spouse refuses to sign or participate in the divorce, then the judge will base the final order on the evidence that the filing spouse submitted.

What happens if the spouses cannot reach agreements on all issues in a contested divorce?

If the spouses fail to reach consensus on all issues in a divorce during negotiations and mediation, the divorce will need to go to trial. The specific matters that remain unresolved will be decided by a judge.

In a contested divorce, can child support orders be modified?

Yes. Child support orders can be modified through the proper court process. An attorney will be best suited to help with this.

Call a Rosenblum Law Divorce Attorney Today

New Jersey divorce law is complex and requires an experienced divorce lawyer to navigate clients through the process.  Rosenblum Law has been handling divorce cases for decades, and we are dedicated to providing clients with the very best support during this difficult time. 

Our attorneys are outstanding negotiators and will be by your side to advocate for your rights and needs in your uncontested or contested divorce. We will help you make sense of your options and ensure a favorable outcome. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

A couple signing divorce papers.
Call Us
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap