How long do I have to live in New Jersey to get divorced here?

Generally at least one year.

Does it matter where I originally got married?


Do both spouses need to live in New Jersey?


Do I need documentary proof that I’m married to get divorced?


Do I need to prove US Citizenship to get divorced?


Can a resident alien (green card holder) get divorced in New Jersey?


How do you charge?

Hourly, but flat fee arrangements are available in certain cases.

What is the most common legal theory used to prove you are entitled to divorce?

Irreconcilable Differences.

Is adultery a basis for divorce?


Can I have child support terminated when my child turns nineteen?

It depends on whether they attend college. If not then yes. The law has recently changed in this area so you should consult a lawyer if you have questions.

Is child support automatically terminated in New Jersey?

Yes. Under a new law effective February 2017, at age 19, if the dependent child is not either still attending high school or college child support is terminated at age 19. Otherwise it is terminated at age 23.

How will the new child support law work?

Well, according to the New Jersey Child Support Center the payor spouse and payee spouse should each receive notice 180 days prior to the dependent child’s 19th birthday and again 90 days prior to the dependent child’s 19th birthday. If there is a good reason to continue support you can then request continuation. If support is continued, then the paying spouse can file a motion to have the decision changed. If there are multiple dependent children then a motion will be required to have the Court determine the modified amount. An attorney can run the child support guidelines and you may be able to convince your former spouse to consent to a revised figure without having to file a motion. Since the law is relatively new, there will be a period of adjustment for everyone. Unexpected administrative errors in the NJ Office of Child Support may occur. Your patience and understanding is advised.

Do you offer free consultations?

Usually in our office we require that you pay for a one-hour consultation. The one-hour fee may be credited to your initial bill if you retain our firm. However, there is no obligation to retain our firm. There are many lawyers that offer free consultations but we usually do not. This is because a consultation requires our time, and we are unable to complete work for other clients during this hour. We provide our undivided attention. You can often glean important information during a consultation that leads to the resolution of your divorce by agreement. In the long run, you’ll agree that one hour of legal advice is well worth the price you’ll pay.

How many lawyers should I meet with before choosing one to hire for my divorce?

I usually recommend three. You need to find a lawyer that you get along with who will respond to your needs. That lawyer does not necessarily need to be the most expensive lawyer or even a Super Lawyer. You need a lawyer that knows what he or she is doing and will not treat your case with a cookie cutter. Every case is unique. Some divorces require that you file a complaint before starting negotiations. Other cases can be settled between the parties before the first paper is filed with the court. Still other cases can be mediated or arbitrated. There are other cases that can be resolved by a bed and board divorce that permits both spouses to remain on the same health insurance policy (in some cases). So you really need a lawyer who will inform you of all the options you have, and won’t make decisions without your approval. In our office you control the proceedings—we just make recommendations that are in your best interest.

Can I move out of state or out of the United States with my child after divorce?

This is determined by a fact-based analysis by the Court after filing a motion, unless the parents both agree in writing in which case the answer is yes.

Can I travel out of state with my child for vacation?

Usually provided your spouse has knowledge of the trip. This is usually dependent upon the marital agreement or divorce decree after your divorce becomes final.

Am I permitted to date before I get divorced?

This is a gray area. It is usually not advisable to introduce younger children to multiple dating partners during your divorce process. Going on dates without your children present is generally acceptable. It is technically adultery to date while you are still married but that is a law that just doesn’t get enforced. Most rational people realize that once you are in the process of divorcing your spouse, the marriage is coming to an end and it is perfectly normal to seek to make new friends and/or find a new dating partner. However, there are those divorce litigants who are looking for any excuse to drag their spouse through the mud and will use everything you do against you. So use discretion and think twice before introducing your new boyfriend to your seven-year-old daughter. Think about your kids—this is a difficult time for them too.

What about alcohol?

It’s never a good idea to drink in the presence of your children—this can be used against you in a custody dispute. Drinking and driving is always a bad idea but is even worse with your kids in the car. Don’t do it. Once you have a DUI conviction it will follow you around forever. Of course, if you have one already, the longer in time since the conviction, the less it will affect you.

What about dividing up property. Does it have to be fifty/fifty?

Equitable distribution is determined by a fact-based inquiry. If you owned property before marriage, it may not need to be divided at all. But some property, such as a retirement account, is more complicated since many people continue to contribute after their marriage starts, in which case PART OF the account is marital property. As for real estate, it is often divided fifty/fifty but not always—again it depends where the down payment came from, whether it was purchased before the marriage, and other factors. Of course, if you agree on a settlement you and your spouse control the division.

Does a Judge get to decide my divorce issues after a trial?

Yes—if you and your spouse can not agree on the distribution of assets and/or custody of children, spousal support, etc., then a total stranger in a black robe gets to decide what happens to your life. Sounds crazy but it’s true. Why wouldn’t two mature adults that are party to a failed marital enterprise be able to sit down at a table and divide up their money and do what’s right for their own kids? It’s a question I ask myself every day. Perhaps with the right guidance from a knowledgeable attorney, you can avoid the pitfall of liquidating most of what you own to pay lawyers, accountants, appraisers and psychologists. It starts with accepting that, like that character in Game of Thrones said, there is really no justice in the world unless you make it yourself.