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How Long Does a Divorce Take in New Jersey?


When it comes to divorce, the process can be as unique as the couple involved. The exact timeline of your divorce can be as unique as your case, as the length of time your divorce takes to initiate and finalize can vary based on a host of factors. This article will explore these factors in further detail.  

Is There a Waiting Period for Divorce in NJ?  

No, New Jersey does not impose a mandatory waiting period for divorce. Certain states, like Pennsylvania, require couples that file for divorce to wait for a certain number of days after filing their papers before a judge will sign off on their case.  

It is worth noting that New Jersey only allows two avenues for filing for divorce on no-fault grounds: irreconcilable differences and separation. If you plan to file on the grounds of separation, you will need to have lived in different residences for at least 18 consecutive months with no hope of reconciliation.  

Factors Impacting the Divorce Timeline 

Below, we outline some of the factors that can affect how long it takes to finalize your divorce: 

Complexity of the Case 

The complexity of the case can greatly impact the timeline. For instance, a divorce involving substantial assets, multiple properties, or business ownership may require additional time for asset valuation and division. Similarly, cases involving child custody and alimony disputes can extend the timeline due to negotiations or potential court hearings. 

Level of Conflict Between Parties 

The level of conflict between the parties can also influence the timeline. If the parties are willing to cooperate and work towards a resolution, the process can be quicker. However, if there's high conflict and disagreement on key issues, it could lead to a protracted legal battle and extend the divorce timeline. 

How You File  

The grounds you file under, as well as whether you file contested or uncontested, can have a large impact on the timeline of your divorce. Continue reading to learn more about the specific impact. 

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce 

Generally, it can take 10 to 12 months, on average, to finalize a contested divorce in New Jersey from the date a spouse files the complaint. However, an uncontested divorce can wrap up in six to eight weeks. 

An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree on all issues related to the dissolution of their marriage, including but not limited to property division, child custody, and spousal support. Since there are no disputes to resolve, this process is typically quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce. 

On the contrary, a contested divorce is when the parties cannot agree on one or more key issues, thus requiring court intervention. The court proceedings for a contested divorce are lengthier and involve multiple stages, including discovery, pre-trial motions, settlement discussions, and possibly a trial. Consequently, contested divorces take longer to finalize. 

No-Fault vs. Fault-Based Divorce 

New Jersey allows for both no-fault and fault-based divorces. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is required to prove the other's wrongdoing. As we mentioned, if you plan to file on the no-fault grounds of separation, you will have to wait until you have been apart for a year and a half.  

In contrast, a fault-based divorce requires one spouse to prove that the other's misconduct led to the breakdown of the marriage. Grounds for a fault-based divorce in New Jersey include adultery, desertion (for at least a year), extreme cruelty, deviant sexual behavior without consent, imprisonment (for at least 18 months of the marriage), and addiction. Proving fault can add time to the divorce process. 

Discuss Your NJ Divorce with Our Attorneys  

Navigating the process of divorce can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. That's why clients seeking to file for divorce can turn to the attorneys at William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys.  

We offer compassionate, personalized counsel designed to help clients manage this difficult time with dignity and confidence. Our team understands the emotional turmoil that comes with divorce and is committed to providing empathetic support.  

While we cannot make guarantees concerning the time of your divorce, we can advise you of what the potential timeline will be based on your case’s specifics. Contact us online or via phone at (215) 515-9901 to get started on your case today.