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A Guide to Filing for Divorce in NJ

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Ending a relationship can be painful, and filing for divorce in NJ can be just one more overwhelming task to add to the list. You don’t have to go through the divorce process alone, and an experienced family law attorney can help.

At Graziano & Flynn, our empathetic family law attorneys will be there for you every step of the way, explaining your rights and advocating for your best interests.

Contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation with a New Jersey divorce attorney.

Filing for the Different Types of Divorce

While there are certain divorce filing standards, each case is unique, especially if you and your spouse have children or share marital assets. In New Jersey, there are two different types of divorce that you can file for: uncontested and contested divorce.

Filing Uncontested or “No-Fault” Divorce

If you and your spouse agree to dissolve the marriage, you will file for an uncontested or no-fault divorce. Under New Jersey law, you can file for a no-fault divorce or dissolution of a domestic partnership or civil union if you meet the following requirements.

  • You or your spouse/partner has lived in New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months.
  • There must have been irreconcilable differences between you and your spouse/partner for six months.
  • Those irreconcilable differences are the reason the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership is ending.
  • You are certain there’s no possibility for reconciliation.

Uncontested divorce cases tend to take less time and don’t often require litigation in court.

Filing As Contested Divorce

If your divorce is contentious and you can’t agree to the terms of the divorce, you will need to file a contested divorce in New Jersey courts. People typically file a contested divorce when they can’t agree on the following:

Fault grounds for a contested divorce include separation, extreme cruelty, or other grounds like adultery, institutionalization, and extended incarceration.

If you’re going through a contested divorce process, we recommend that you and your spouse seek out your own legal representation. At Graziano & Flynn, we’ll work with you so that you understand your rights throughout the proceedings and have a clear sense of what’s ahead.

Choosing a Divorce Process

In an ideal world, most divorce cases could be settled outside of court. However, that’s not always possible if your case is particularly contentious. A court may first order mediation in the hopes that you and your spouse can come to a satisfactory agreement. If mediation isn’t successful, you may be forced to pursue litigation in court.


The person who files for a contested divorce is considered the plaintiff and is asking the court to determine the outcome of the divorce. Litigation occurs when you file for a contested divorce, and the family court hears the case. You can represent yourself in court, but most people turn to family law attorneys to argue on their behalf.

Litigation can take more time and be more expensive. When your divorce case goes to court, you’re beholden to the judge’s schedule, which means it can take longer to reach a resolution.  Additionally, litigation is more costly as it includes attorney and filing fees. It is important to note that couples can enter a settlement at any time during the divorce process.


Mediation is a type of “alternative dispute resolution” wherein a mediator helps each party agree to the divorce terms. If mediation succeeds, the divorce becomes an uncontested divorce, and a marital settlement agreement is created.

While a mediator cannot determine the outcome of the divorce, they can sometimes guide you and your spouse toward an amicable resolution. Couples can enter into mediation without filing for divorce. How long the process takes depends on the topics that need to be addressed, their complexity, and the level of cooperation between the parties.

New Jersey Divorce Filing Process

There are several steps to file for divorce in New Jersey. The first step involves filling out the appropriate forms and paying the associated feeds. There’s a $300 filing fee if you don’t have children together. If you do have children together, you’ll pay $325, which covers the Parenting Workshop fee.

Forms for Filing for Divorce in NJ

Once you’re prepared to file for divorce, you’ll need to fill out and submit the necessary divorce forms in the county where you and your spouse resided at the time the basis for the divorce arose. The filling spouse is referred to as the plaintiff, whereas the other spouse is the defendant.

Once the forms are filed, the defendant will then file an appearance form in response and pay a $175 filing fee to indicate they’re not contesting the divorce. You’ll need to fill out the following forms to file for your divorce.

  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Summons
  • Confidential Litigant Information Sheet
  • Certification of Self-Represented Litigant and Dispute Resolution Alternatives
  • Certification Regarding Redaction of Personal Identifiers
  • Certification Verification and Non-collusion
  • Certification of Insurance Coverage

If your divorce is contested, you’ll file these forms with the court:

Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in NJ, you have to have been a state resident for 12 months. The only exception to that rule is if the reason for divorce includes adultery. If adultery occurs, at least one spouse must have been an NJ resident for any amount of time.

The Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer When Filing for Divorce

If your case is simple and you and your spouse can agree on the divorce terms, you may not need to invest in a divorce lawyer. However, if your divorce is contentious or you share complex assets, hiring an experienced lawyer can make all the difference.

A divorce lawyer knows the ins and outs of family law and can advise you on the best way to protect your interests, children, and any assets you may have if your case goes to court. The divorce process is stressful enough, and the right lawyer understands divorce law and can litigate on your behalf so that the proceedings go as smoothly as possible.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with a New Jersey Divorce Attorney

At Graziano & Flynn, our divorce lawyers understand the strain divorce can put on all family members. We’ll support you throughout your divorce proceedings, whether you’re entering into mediation or you’re pursuing litigation in court.

With over 80 years of combined experience, our family law attorneys will guide you through your divorce options, giving you a clear sense of what to expect moving forward. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

Divorce FAQs

What is a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA)?

In New Jersey, a Marital Separation Agreement or MSA is a legal document that outlines the divorce terms and how the relationship will play out after the divorce. These agreements are sometimes called property settlement agreements and can help you avoid court by resolving issues related to child support, child custody, alimony, and shared marital assets.

What is a Divorce Judgment?

A divorce judgment is a complete court order that results in the end of your marriage. The decree includes the date and grounds for divorce, notes any name changes, and identifies any rulings made by the judge that were incorporated into the divorce terms.

What’s the difference between a Separation Agreement and a Divorce Judgment?

A separation agreement is just the plan for what will be done regarding child support, custody, alimony, and shared assets after the divorce. A divorce judgment will often include the terms of the separation agreement, but you’re not considered officially divorced until you have the divorce judgment in hand.

Do You Need to Separate to Get Divorced in NJ?

You do not need to be separated in order to file for divorce in NJ. However, if you’ve been apart for 18 months or more, you can file for divorce on the grounds of separation. New Jersey recognizes irreconcilable differences, so if those have existed within your relationship for at least six months, you can file for an uncontested divorce.

Contact Our New Jersey Divorce Lawyers

For more information about how the Camden County attorneys of Graziano & Flynn, P.C., can help you achieve your family law goals, please call 856-351-5254 or toll free 877-788-1293. You can also contact us online.

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