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What is a Contested Divorce in New Jersey?

Because it involves spouses who can’t agree on one or more divorce-related issues in their case, a “contested” divorce is the most complicated of divorces. For more information on the nature of contested divorces in New Jersey, please continue reading, then contact one of our experienced Morris County, NJ divorce lawyers as soon as possible.

What kind of a divorce can you get in New Jersey?

Spouses wishing to separate have two major routes: A contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce involves both spouses agreeing on all issues concerning the divorce, including, but not limited to:

  • The division of marital property and debts
  • Child custody
  • Child support, and
  • Spousal support, also known as alimony

Conversely, a contested divorce involves one where the spouses can’t agree on the issues in their divorce and wind up in court, where they must ask a judge to make these decisions for them. Whether you and your spouse disagree on one key issue or all of them, you can classify your divorce as contested.

How is a contested divorce different in New Jersey?

While it usually costs the same to file either type of divorce in the Garden State, spouses opting for a contested divorce will likely spend more money on attorney’s fees and expert witness fees, i.e. financial consultants or appraisers, than a couple that agrees on most of the divorce-related issues.

What is the process for a contested divorce in NJ?

If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on the issues related to your divorce, you will have to follow the following steps:

  • The divorce petition: One spouse will have to prepare, file and serve the divorce petition, i.e. legal paperwork asking for the divorce and stating the grounds for the breakdown of the marriage,. Then, the other spouse will have to respond, which should involve hiring one of our skilled New Jersey divorce and family law attorneys.
  • Divorce discovery: The spouses and their legal counsel will engage in the information-gathering process, which involves various legal procedures to get information from each other and from third-party witnesses. This may include written questions, subpoenas and depositions.
  • Pre-trial motions and hearings: One or both spouses can request that the court order one party to pay pendent lite child and spousal support until the finalization of the divorce.
  • Settlement proposals and negotiations between attorneys: Through the court system, your attorneys will try to resolve divorce-related issues.
  • A court trial: Cases go to trial when the parties can’t resolve the issues using other formats. This trial will take place in the Superior Court of the county in which the plaintiff lives.
  • An appeal: If you do not agree with the judge’s decisions, you may lodge an appeal within forty-five days of the entrance of the final Court Order.

Our firm is here to help, so give us a call today.


If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.