Types of Divorce

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Types of Divorce

There are several types of divorce in New Jersey. The most common is a divorce sought because the couples’ relationship is at an impasse that cannot be fixed. They have reached the point of “Irreconcilable Differences.” However, there are several grounds on which to seek a divorce. A divorce is most commonly an absolute divorce that separates the spouses, their households and their goods as well as custody of their children. These are usually either “fault” or “no fault” divorces.   In a “fault” divorce one partner has done something which caused the marriage to fail. In a “no-fault” divorce the marriage has ended even though neither partner specifically caused it to end.

 

Fault Divorce

“Fault” divorces are far less common than they used to be since Irreconcilable Differences came about. A spouse may seek a “fault” divorce many reasons, two of the more common fault grounds are separation and extreme cruelty.

If one spouse leaves and lives separately from the other for 12 months or more then divorce can be granted on the grounds of desertion. When one partner has been violent or abusive toward the other for at least three months then divorce may be granted on grounds of extreme cruelty.

 

No Fault Divorce

New Jersey law recognizes two categories for “no fault” divorce. If the couple has lived apart for 18 months or more before filing, then divorce may be granted on the basis of separation.

If the couple finds that they’re unable get along and reconciliation is unlikely for 6 months or more, they can be granted a divorce based on “irreconcilable differences”.

 

Divorce from Bed and Board

New Jersey doesn’t have a legal separation process, instead some couples engage in a process called “Divorce from bed and board” also known as a limited divorce. Couples who go through this process are still technically married, so if they reconcile they can have the judgement revoked. If the partners, choose to end the marriage for good they still have to obtain an absolute divorce. In the interim, one spouse may remain eligible to receive health benefits on the other spouse’s policy, and they may continue to file taxes jointly or as “married, filing separately.” During a divorce from bed and board, neither spouse can be legally re-married, or resume their former name.

 

Annulment

An annulment isn’t a divorce, it’s a reversal of the marriage. Annulment undoes the fact of the marriage as if it never happened. Annulments are extremely rare and can have lasting implications for children or other family members. Annulments greatly affect the way property is distributed.

 

 

Before You File for Divorce

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Before You File for Divorce

 

Before You File for Divorce: Gather Your Records

If you are filing for a divorce, your attorney will need documents that show your current financial situation. You may not have all of these documents handy, but it’s important that you gather as much information as you can before you start the process. Use this list and keep these documents, or copies in the safest place you can. That may mean keeping them outside your home, in a safe deposit box or storing them with a trusted friend.

 

Personal Information

  • Your identifying information, birth certificate, Social Security number, immigration/citizenship information (if applicable), and Passport.
  • Children’s birth certificates and Social Security numbers

 

Financial Records

  • 3 years of Tax returns (for you and your spouse if you have not filed jointly)
  • 3 to 6 weeks of recent pay stubs for you and your spouse
  • Proof of other income such as pension, SSI, SSD, annuity payments, etc.
  • 1 year of bank statements – all accounts.
  • List of all bank accounts (yours and spouse)
  • List of financial assets, Stocks, bonds, real estate, collectibles, art or other possessions with significant value.
  • Recent credit card statements
  • Loan statements
  • Leases or deeds for all properties
  • Mortgage documents
  • Business ownership documents
  • Car titles and loans
  • Insurance policies health, dental, life, automobile, homeowners, or renters
  • Pension plans and retirement accounts
  • Foreclosure orders
  • Bankruptcy orders
  • Will for you and your spouse
  • Information regarding any Trust that names you, your spouse or your children as a beneficiary.
  • Receipts, claims or bills for personal injury or property damage caused by your spouse

 

Expense Information

  • List of monthly expenses, (food, clothing, shelter, education, travel, etc.)
  • Copies of your monthly bills
  • Documentation if you or your children are receiving any form of public assistance, adoption stipends or outside support.

Documents Related to Your Marriage.

  • Marriage certificate
  • Pre-nuptual agreements
  • Domestic violence restraining orders / police or hospital reports
  • Name change orders
  • Adoption of Children

It may seem troublesome but don’t give up; you’re gathering the tools needed to make your divorce successful and equitable. If you feel that gathering this information might endanger you or your family get advice from your attorney on how to gather your information safely.

 

When you start the divorce process with this information, your attorney will have a clear picture of the marital finances. More importantly, you’ll save time and legal fees. With this information in hand you can reach an agreement to settle your case fairly. And if you need to fight, you’ll be armed with evidence.