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Understandably, divorce proceedings are a stressful time that you likely want to finalize as soon as possible. Though, there are mandatory steps that you must follow that may extend this process. Read on to discover how long a divorce takes in New Jersey and how one of the seasoned Sussex County, Sparta divorce attorneys at Paris P. Eliades, Esq. can guide you throughout the way.

What are the mandatory steps of a divorce?

Before you even consider filing for divorce, you must ensure that you and your spouse meet the state of New Jersey’s residency requirement. That is, you or your spouse must be a bona fide resident of the state or have lived in the state for at least 12 months. This is unless adultery is cited as the grounds for your divorce.

Once you establish jurisdiction, you must cite the grounds for your divorce, whether it be irreconcilable differences, desertion, extreme cruelty, or otherwise. Though, you may simply cite no-fault grounds if you do not want the decisions on your divorce-related issues to be impacted.

Then, you must serve the court with your divorce complaint. With this, you must serve your spouse within four months of the court filing this document.

Soon after, the court will schedule a case management conference so that you and your spouse can discuss the contested issues of your divorce, the time frame and application of pre-trial discovery, a trial date, and the possibility of mediation. This, along with the early settlement panel that follows, is intended to expedite the divorce process as much as possible. However, if you and your spouse reject these recommendations and cannot negotiate well, then your divorce will proceed forward with litigation.

How long does a divorce take in the state of New Jersey?

With all of the above steps in mind, you may expect your contested divorce to be as long as 10 to 12 months in New Jersey. This accounts for the time that you file the complaint to the time that a judge signs off on it. Though, this process can take over a year if you and your spouse continuously litigate spousal support, property distribution, child custody, child support, and/or child visitation.

An uncontested divorce may take a lesser amount of time, at an average of a few months. However, this is only possible if you and your spouse can successfully put your feelings aside and amicably work toward a resolution.

As you can see, there are a lot of hoops that you must jump through to get your divorce settled. You should not have to go through this process alone. So, for more information on the divorce process, reach out to a competent Sussex County divorce attorney today. We look forward to hearing from you.