New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Experienced in Contested Divorces

Contested divorces occur when one or both parties cannot agree to terms for settlement, which requires the Court intervene to resolve the parties’ issues for them.  Normally, the parties are not contesting whether a divorce should or should not be entered.  Instead, most contested divorces revolve around finances and child custody issues.  While many divorces start out as contested divorces, most of them are ultimately settled through negotiation, mediation, and with the Court’s input.  In New Jersey, less than 1 percent of all divorces filed end up in Trial.

When one party files a Complaint for Divorce, the opposing party has 35 days to file a response after they have been served.  This response can either be:

  • An Answer to the Complaint for Divorce;
  • An Answer to the Complaint for Divorce and a Counterclaim; or
  • An Appearance.

The party who filed the Complaint for Divorce has 20 days to file an Answer to the Counterclaim. Shortly after these pleading are filed, the Court will schedule a Case Management Conference where they will set:

  • The scheduling track for the case;
  • Dates for the parties to send out and answer discovery requests;
  • Which party will pay for any appraisals if needed; and
  • Dates for custody mediation, etc.

Thereafter, each party will have to complete a financial disclosure worksheet known as a Case Information Statement which sets forth your:

  • Earnings;
  • Monthly expenses;
  • Assets; and
  • Liabilities, etc.

The Court will then require that you attend an Early Settlement Panel (ESP) where each party pleads their side to two matrimonial attorneys who donate their time to the Court.  These panelists will give the parties their best interpretation as to how the case would most likely settle if tried before the Court.  If the ESP is unsuccessful, the court will then require the parties to attend an Intensive Settlement Conference, where each party is required to spend the day in Court in an effort to resolve their case.  If this is unsuccessful, the Court will ultimately set the matter down for trial.  Depending upon the complexity of your case, Trial can take anywhere from 1 day to a number of months.  This whole process, which varies in the different counties of New Jersey, can take anywhere from 10 months to more than 2 years.

Given the complexities of Contested Divorce in New Jersey, we advise you to contact one of our experienced divorce lawyers or family law attorneys at 973-627-7300 at Einhorn Harris today. We handle divorce throughout New Jersey.