WHAT IS A “DIVORCE ON THE PAPERS?”
The Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact citizens globally, including New Jersey residents, on a daily basis. During these uncertain times, one thing remains certain: you can still finalize that divorce you have been working toward.
While New Jersey courts continue to be closed to the public and adjust to this “new normal,” the courts have also been handling as many family court cases by telephone or by video conference as possible. Motions, case management conferences, Intensive Settlement Conferences, hearings, uncontested divorces, and now Early Settlement Panels are being heard on a daily basis.
Additionally, many of New Jersey’s family courts are permitting parties to file what is known as a “divorce on the papers,” more than ever before. This means that you may not have to appear in court (telephonically or virtually) for the uncontested hearing that would ultimately allow you to finalize the divorce.
Therefore, if you have not yet mastered the art of videoconference, are home all day caring to small children without assistance, or are concerned about testifying when your attorney is unable to be by your side, requesting a divorce on the papers may be right for you.
As an alternative to the uncontested appearance, both parties would submit certifications or affidavits to the court, which address the same factual information that would be elicited through testimony at the uncontested hearing. This information will establish the cause of action for divorce, that the court has jurisdiction over the divorce action, and the voluntariness of the agreement entered into between the parties. A Final Judgment of Divorce will result, without the requirement of attending formal hearing. Whether New Jersey courts will continue to encourage parties to obtain a divorce on the papers after the pandemic ends remains to be determined.
If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce on the papers or another family law matter, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.