Q&A about Family Law & Divorce in New Jersey
The family law practice at Smith & Doran represents clients throughout New Jersey in family law matters, including divorce and all of its accompanying issues, such as child and spousal support, custody, and property distribution. If you are facing divorce or have another legal concern involving your family, you likely have many questions about hiring a lawyer and other issues. Please consult our FAQs for some basic information, and please contact our offices to discuss your specific concern.
How long will my divorce take?
The length of time it takes to get divorced depends on the circumstances of your case. When both parties agree to a no-fault divorce, the process can be as short as two months (sometimes a little less), but with a contested divorce, the time from first filing to dissolution of the marriage can be much longer. Even when a case goes to trial, New Jersey courts mandate that no divorce should take longer than 12 months from the date the complaint is first filed at the clerk’s office.
How much will my divorce cost?
The hourly rate of the family law attorney you hire is, of course, one factor contributing to the overall cost of a divorce. Apart from attorney’s fees, however, the cost of your divorce is highly dependent on the number of issues that need to be resolved to reach a court-approved divorce decree.
If the divorce is highly contentious with the parties battling over both major and minor issues, the divorce can cost a large amount of money. But if the parties can agree on most terms of the divorce, they can save significantly on attorney’s fees and other costs. We work to help clients resolve issues amicably whenever possible.
What are the issues that must be resolved to obtain a divorce?
In New Jersey, all issues related to the divorce must be resolved in the same proceeding before a divorce can be granted by a court. These issues include:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Parenting plan
- Spousal support (alimony)
- Equitable distribution of property
- Allocation of debts
What is mediation?
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), serving as an option to litigation in a divorce case. A neutral third party—the mediator—assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement, which serves as a foundation for a final Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) to be incorporated into a Final Judgment for Divorce. Generally, mediation is faster, less expensive, and less traumatic than trial.