The Five Types of Divorce
New Jersey has one of the lowest divorce rates among the 50 states over the last decade. More than 50 percent of the state’s adults are married, and fewer than 10 percent are divorced. The divorces that do take place each year usually fall into one of five categories, which are:
In a scenario in which one person files for divorce and the other individual does not respond, the courts can award a default divorce. This kind of divorce often occurs because a person cannot be found or leaves the country and never returns. Leaving may be a purposeful action by someone, but a default divorce is also used in instances where the fate of one spouse is unknown. Generally, people do not opt for a default divorce because they, in essence, are giving up all of their rights. How assets are distributed will depend on the particular situation, but it is often in a manner that’s favorable to the person who is present.
Summary divorces are, essentially, simplified divorces in which the process generally amounts to people having to pay a relatively small fee and filling out and filing a form. When a summary divorce is possible, a Hackensack divorce attorney can generally complete it in short order. This type of divorce is not always possible, however. It is generally reserved for short marriages that lasted less than five years and those unions in which there are no children or significant debts and few properties and other assets to divide.
A contested divorce is the most adversarial type and generally involves litigation. This means that each attorney will present his or her case, and a judge will then make a determination within the boundaries established by the law. These divorces tend to be complex, take a long time and are relatively expensive compared to the other four types listed here. Lawyers will often seek to negotiate a settlement beforehand, and judges will often recommend further settlement negotiations. If a settlement isn’t possible, then multiple hearings over a long period may be required in order to finalize the lawsuit.
An uncontested divorce is a non-adversarial divorce in which the parties work together. This is often the simplest, fastest and least costly of all the types of divorces. It is similar to the mediations and collaborations discussed in the next section, and there is some overlap here. However, an uncontested divorce is generally more streamlined because each person knows what he or she wants and is willing to concede to what the other individual wants. This arrangement is formally known as a divorce agreement. Once that document is signed and filed with the courts, the divorce becomes final, and the agreement is legally binding.
A collaborative divorce is a non-confrontational divorce in which the parties strive to work together. There are two basic forms of this approach: mediation and collaboration. In a mediation, a mediator, which may be a Hackensack divorce attorney, oversees the process and helps both parties work toward a fair resolution. A collaboration is more involved. The divorcing couple has a support team that includes legal representation for each person as well as other team members, including financial advisors, real estate evaluators, child specialists, therapists and so forth. This process places great emphasis on the parties working together not only to achieve a resolution but to preserve family relationships moving forward.
Consult With a Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering a separation or divorce or have been informed by your spouse of his or her intent to split up, then it is in your best interests to seek out a Hackensack divorce attorney as soon as possible. If you have the benefit of choosing your particular divorce type, it can still be a challenging process that often requires professional insight. The Law Offices of Kelly Berton Rocco focuses on NJ family law only and has assisted many clients with navigating opposite- and same-sex separations and divorces. Contact us online today, or call our office in Hackensack at (201) 343-0078 to schedule a consultation.