Common Scenarios in Divorce and Family Law Matters
Family law matters can be a tumultuous journey, fraught with uncertainty and emotion. As someone who has spent years immersed in the intricate world of legalities surrounding relationships, divorce, and child-related concerns, I’ve witnessed firsthand the different paths people seeking a divorce in New Jersey tread when facing these life-altering situations. In my experience, various scenarios lead people seeking a divorce in New Jersey to escalate and get guidance on divorce matters, including the following common pre-judgment scenarios:
Uncertainty and Decision-Making
Individuals often arrive at my office unsure of whether to pursue divorce. Factors like financial independence and adapting to a new life dynamic can weigh heavily on their minds. Long-term marriages can create uniquely difficult challenges as they contemplate a potential new chapter.
Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse
Domestic violence, fueled by alcohol or substance abuse, can push individuals to file for divorce. Such situations are increasingly common, necessitating prompt legal action.
Differing – and Difficult – Perspectives
Cases where one party wants a divorce while the other refuses pose exceptional challenges. Fortunately, New Jersey offers options, such as an Notice of Equitable Distribution
, which outlines all of the issues that need to be addressed by the Court.
This Notice of Equitable Distribution allows the divorce to happen even when one party remains uncooperative or has disappeared.
Clients seek effective representation and value for their investment, so a dissatisfaction with current legal representation prompts some to seek a change. While switching attorneys during a divorce can slightly complicate the process, more often than not, the result works in the client’s favor. The intricacies of family law extend far after judgment has passed. Family court cases encompass a range of scenarios that arise after legal decisions have been made, such as:
Parenting Time Disputes
If children are involved, parents may very well face disputes over parenting time arrangements, custody, holiday schedules, vacations, one’s ability to relocate out of state, all of which ordinarily require legal intervention for resolution.
As children approach college age, questions often arise regarding the school that their child will be attending, each parent’s financial responsibility, and the level of child support required to be paid while their child is going to college. Legal assistance is often sought through the family law system to navigate these issues.
Many times, one of the parties has reached their breaking point and suffers from either Battered Women’s Syndrome or some other form of Domestic Violence. Victims of domestic violence require immediate action to ensure the safety of those involved. If you believe that you are a domestic violence victim and want to divorce your spouse, you can get a restraining order to ensure that you remain safe while your divorce is moving forward.
One parent’s desire to relocate out of state can lead to legal battles over child custody and visitation rights.
Child Support Recalculation
Changes in circumstances, such as the emancipation of a child, college attendance, changes in custody, may necessitate recalculating child support obligations. By understanding these scenarios, you can better navigate your entire legal journey, seeking informed decisions and effective resolutions throughout the entire process.
The Divorce Process
Each divorce is different with unique circumstances, but there is a flow that most cases follow…
Filing the Complaint
The process of a divorce begins with the filing of a Complaint for Divorce. The filing party must submit this complaint to the Superior Court to initiate the proceedings. Once the Complaint is filed, it serves as the official starting point for the divorce process.
Serving the Other Party
After the Complaint is filed and entered with the court, the next step involves serving the other party. This can be achieved by providing the Complaint to process server or Sherriff’s Officer for service. It can also be served on the other parties attorney if your spouse has already hired counsel. Serving the other party ensures that both sides are aware of the legal action.
Responding to the Complaint
Upon being served with the Complaint, the other party has 35 days to respond. They can file an Answer or an Answer and Counterclaim, which initiates a responsive legal action.
Case Management Conference
After all the requisite pleadings have been filed, the Court arranges a Case Management Conference wherein both attorneys and the Court develop a timeline for various events that will happen in the case such as serving and answering of discovery, depositions, and demands for admissions. The timeline is then entered with the Court and all parties will be given a Case Management Order (CMO) detailing the above noted timeline.
Discovery and Depositions
Discovery involves gathering evidence, and it may also involve depositions, where sworn out-of-court statements are recorded. These processes are spelled out during the Case Management Conference and aim to gather information for both sides.
Early Settlement Panel
The Early Settlement Panel (ESP) involves a neutral attorney
or attorneys (defending on the county your case is being heard in) who reviews position statements prepared by both parties’ attorneys. This step provides insight into how a judge might rule in the case and encourages settlement. It serves as a cost-saving measure and an alternative to a full blown trial.
If the case is not resolved at ESP, the parties are then ordered by the Court to attend economic mediation. The mediator chosen by the Court, or the attorneys acts as an unbiased third party facilitator who attempts to resolve the majority of issues holding your divorce back from finalization. Like ESP, this aims to avoid trial and reduce costs.
Case Conference and Trial
A case conference with the judge may be held after economic mediation. If resolution is still elusive, a trial might become necessary. In a trial, the judge makes decisions regarding various divorce aspects such as alimony, child support, custody, and parenting time. The divorce process involves a series of structured steps, with opportunities for resolution at various points. Legal representation and guidance are crucial to navigate this journey effectively. For more information on People Seeking A Divorce In New Jersey,
a free initial consultation
is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 365-3299