Uncooperative Spouse? Six Steps to Obtaining Your New Jersey Divorce

Obtaining a New Jersey Divorce When Your Spouse Won’t Consent to a Divorce, is Uncooperative, Controlling or Threatening

Divorce laws have evolved over time. Until the late 1960’s, both spouses had to agree to a divorce or the spouse seeking the divorce had to prove that there were grounds for ending the marriage. Today, anyone who wants to end a marriage can obtain a legal divorce, with or without a spouse’s consent. However, an uncooperative spouse can complicate the process.

These six steps can help you end your marriage, even when your spouse won’t consent to a divorce:

  1. Contact a family law attorney. Your attorney will be familiar with the tricks and tactics that a spouse resisting divorce might use and willbe able to advise you of your legal options. If your spouse is manipulative, your attorney will look out for your best interests. She can also help you obtain legal protection if your safety is an issue.
  2. Decide on the grounds for your divorce. Grounds for divorce in New Jersey include adultery, mental illness, abandonment of 12 months or longer, drug or alcohol abuse, and any type of physical or mental cruelty that make it dangerous for you to continue living with your spouse. You can also file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences.
  3. Make sure you understand the rules for the grounds you choose. In order to obtain a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, you or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least 12 months and you must have experienced irreconcilable differences for at least six months. Failure to follow the rules can cause delays.
  4. Complete the divorce paperwork. Make sure the paperwork is served to your spouse through your local sheriff’s office. The sheriff will document that your spouse has received your petition for divorce. Proper documentation can prevent delays, especially if your ex claims that the papers never arrived.
  5. Wait for a response. Your spouse must respond to your divorce within 35 days. If your spouse files a counterclaim, you will need to take your case to court. If your spouse doesn’t answer, you may be able to request a default divorce judgement from the court.
  6. Set a court date. If your spouse contested the grounds for divorce, your case will go to trial. Your attorney will prepare a divorce agreement and document your grounds for divorce. She will make sure that you are prepared for the court date and represent you before the judge.

If your spouse is controlling, manipulative, or aggressive, you need an experienced divorce lawyer on your side.  Your family law attorney will help you make the best choices for yourself and your children for now and for the future. If you need help divorcing an uncooperative spouse, please don’t hesitate to call Melinda M. Previtera, Attorney at Law at (201) 655-7204.