If your spouse has not responded to your divorce complaint, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Hudson County divorce attorneys to learn what you should know about default divorce in New Jersey.
What is a default divorce in New Jersey?
In the Garden State, if one spouse files a complaint for divorce, the court can grant the divorce even if the other spouse does not answer the complaint or appear in court. This is also known as a “default” judgment of divorce.
When the plaintiff serves the defendant with divorce papers, the defendant has 35 days to reply. If he or she has not responded within those 35 days, the plaintiff can ask the court for a default divorce within 60 days. Since members of the United States military are protected from default divorces, the plaintiff will have to verify that the defendant is not a servicemember.
What happens during a default divorce in New Jersey?
Depending on your exact circumstances and the county in which you live, you may or may not have to go to court, even if your spouse does not respond. Assuming you and your spouse did not work everything out beforehand and only one spouse filed so as to save the other spouse time and money, you will likely have to attend a default hearing. At a default hearing, a judge will make the following decisions in your case:
- The equitable distribution of marital property, including both assets and debts
- Alimony or spousal maintenance
- Child custody
- Child support
- Any other relief requested by the plaintiff
Before granting a default divorce, a court will want to be sure that both spouses have had a fair chance to be heard. For example, even if you do not have a signed settlement agreement and the defendant did not respond to the complaint but appears at the default hearing with a reasonable explanation, the judge may continue or delay the hearing to a later date to give him or her more time.
If you believe the defendant has had sufficient time and opportunity to reply, you should reach out to one of our skilled Hudson County family law attorneys to discuss your next steps.
How can a Hudson County family law attorney help you?
Even in the best of circumstances, divorces can drag on for months or even years. Having a qualified family law attorney on your side will help the proper authorities see through the defendant’s excuses by providing them with the documents and evidence needed to move the process along. Our firm will fight to defend your rights, so please give us a call today.
Contact our Firm
We understand how emotional and difficult matters of family law can be. If you need the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney to help protect your right to your family, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced firm. We are eager and dedicated to helping you through this difficult time. Our personal injury specialists at Greenberg & Walden, LLC are standing by for a free initial consultation. Call us at 201-528-6928