Contrary to popular belief, not all divorce proceedings are long and painful. It is actually quite common for divorcing spouses to come to amicable terms of a settlement agreement and get through their divorce with minimal interference. In some cases, this may result in what is known as a default divorce. While not all amicable divorces are ultimately default divorces, it is one viable option for divorcing couples who wish to quickly and legally finalize their divorce in New Jersey. Today, our default divorce attorneys will be defining default divorce, describing the default divorce process, and identifying when default divorce may or may not be the best option for you and your family.
Chester, NJ Divorce Lawyers Define Default Divorce in New Jersey
It is important to understand that the legal divorce process may begin when one party files for divorce, but the practical process can begin well before that step has been taken. Many divorcing couples choose to come to a divorce settlement agreement before filing for divorce. When possible, this is a great way to iron out issues including alimony, equitable distribution of marital assets, child support, child custody, and much more on your own time. It may even be possible to use alternative conflict resolution methods such as mediation during this period.
If a settlement agreement is successfully reached, there is nothing left to resolve during the “formal” legal process. Therefore a divorce may move forward as a default divorce. Default divorces refer to divorce proceedings where the defendant is not challenging any of the terms of the initial divorce filing. Default divorces often include a single court appearance or may even go through without a court appearance at all. The exact procedure will depend on the county in which you are filing for divorce. Speak to your Chester divorce lawyer to understand how default divorce works in your town.
What does the Default Divorce Process Look like in Morris County?
The default divorce process is an expedited version of standard divorce proceedings in New Jersey which may skip steps such as child support hearings, early settlement panels, and so forth. Your Morris County default divorce attorney will likely guide you through a timeline that looks something like this:
- A spouse files for divorce
- The spouse who is served with divorce paperwork (the defendant) does not file a response within the allotted 35 day response period
- The plaintiff may then petition the courts to be granted a default divorce within 60 days
- Your default divorce hearing or out of court settlement will be scheduled depending on the nature of your circumstances and the regulations of your local county
If you and your spouse have a signed settlement agreement – a hearing may be scheduled or you may be asked to submit your agreement for judicial review. Assuming your settlement agreement is legal and in good order, your divorce will be granted on the date of the hearing or pursuant to the out of court regulations of your county.
If you and your spouse do not have a signed settlement agreement – your default divorce hearing will involve settling issues such as division of assets. There is a more complex process which requires adequate preparation for your court date. It is not required that both parties attend, but it is recommended. Work with your Morris County attorney to identify the best course of action within your unique situation.
Contact our Morristown Default Divorce Attorneys Today
At Towns, Tomaio & Newmark, our divorce and family law attorneys have extensive experience serving divorcing couples from Morris County towns including Chester, Chatham, Morristown, Mendham, Morris Township, Harding, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our firm is led by three partners, all of whom have been recognized as Certified Matrimonial Law Attorneys by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, a distinction held by just two percent of lawyers in the state. While many other firms practice a wide range of legal disciplines, we practice exclusively divorce and family law to better serve our clients and their families.