Divorce and Marriage Dissolution

Bergen County Attorney Knowledgeable in Family Law Proceedings

A marriage can be legally ended in New Jersey by divorce or marriage dissolution. A divorce, historically, referred to ending a marriage on a ground of “fault” because the law required an assertion by one spouse against the other of marital misconduct before a marriage could be ended in the state. The terms divorce and dissolution of marriage have often been used interchangeably once the legal systems of states like New Jersey evolved to provide for both “fault” and “no-fault” endings to a marriage. Dissolution of marriage is sometimes used to refer to a “no fault” divorce, which can be an appropriate solution when a couple has young children who can be hurt by a more contentious process, or if they do not want private matters to become a matter of public record. Bergen County divorce lawyer Howard B. Leopold can assist you if you are considering taking this step.

New Jersey law also allows for the dissolution of civil unions. Regardless of the path pursued to end a marriage or civil union, it is important to understand the requirements, rights, and responsibilities imposed by the law. Leopold Law offers advice and representation to residents of communities throughout Northern New Jersey who are seeking an experienced family law attorney to help navigate the legal system.

Divorce and Marital Dissolution in New Jersey

There are residency and other requirements imposed by the law on divorcing couples in New Jersey. A no-fault divorce can be pursued in circumstances in which at least one spouse has lived in New Jersey for a period of 12 consecutive months preceding the filing of the complaint initiating the divorce proceedings. A no-fault divorce complaint based on separation can be pursued when the spouses have been living apart in separate residences for at least 18 months prior to the filing, and there is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation. An alternative basis for a no-fault divorce is when the spouses show that they have had irreconcilable differences for a period of six months, making it appear that the marriage should be dissolved due to its breakdown, and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

Pursuing a no-fault path can sometimes help the parties move their focus off the causes for going their separate ways and onto a more forward-looking approach that addresses the division of marital property and alimony, as well as, when there are children involved, child custody and visitation. Attention to the preparation of the pleadings to initiate a no-fault divorce is essential because the pleadings must establish the satisfaction of the legal requirements for a couple to be able to proceed with the dissolution of their marriage. Leopold Law can help spouses dissolving their marriage prepare their filings.

While there are advantages to pursuing a no-fault divorce in many circumstances, New Jersey law also provides multiple grounds upon which a divorce can be had on a fault basis. Among the grounds for a divorce based on fault are incarceration, mental illness, the abuse of alcohol and narcotics, adultery, deviant sexual conduct, desertion, or extreme cruelty. Requirements for fault-based divorce complaints vary depending on the grounds asserted. For example, a divorce based on desertion can be pursued when a spouse has been deserted for at least 12 months prior to the filing of the divorce complaint. The guidance of an experienced New Jersey attorney is helpful in these circumstances. Howard B. Leopold has decades of experience and can guide you through the challenges associated with dealing with the divorce process, including situations in which significant assets or children are involved.

Hire an Experienced Attorney in Bergen County or the Surrounding Areas

In no-fault and fault-based divorce situations, or when proceeding with the dissolution of a civil union, it is important that you understand how to go about protecting your rights and advancing your interests. If you have questions about these matters, call us at (201) 345-5907 for a free consultation or use our online form to schedule an appointment with a Bergen County lawyer. Howard B. Leopold can provide legal guidance in connection with separation and divorce proceedings, together with the related legal issues. Leopold Law can represent people throughout Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Hudson Counties, including in Hackensack, Bergenfield, Cliffside Park, Dumont, Englewood, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Mahwah, New Milford, North Arlington, Oakland, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hasbrouck Heights, Hillsdale, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Tenafly, Wallington, Westwood, Wyckoff, Newark, Paterson, and Jersey City.

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