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Can I Get Divorced If My Spouse Does Not Participate? 

Many people in New Jersey who are considering divorce might not have the desire nor the ability to go to court for an extended legal battle. These types of cases include default divorces, divorces between people who are living in different states or different countries, or people who are unable to attend the hearings through no fault of their own such as if they are part of the military. A question frequently asked is if the divorce can be completed by mail without any requirement to attend the hearings. The answer is yes you can divorce without attending the hearings.

Default Divorce In New Jersey 

mail box

With a default divorce, if one spouse files for divorce and the other does not reply to the filing by appearing in court, the couple can be divorced whether the defendant responds to the filing or not. The spouse who files for divorce is known as the plaintiff. When the plaintiff serves the defendant with divorce papers, the defendant has 35 days to reply. If there is no response within those 35 days, the plaintiff can then ask the court for a default divorce within 60 days. For there to be a default judgment, the plaintiff is also required to provide an affidavit that the defendant is not in the military. Active duty servicemembers are not subject to a default judgment of divorce.

There can be a default divorce without the waiting period if the spouses are able to agree on the terms of the divorce and do not want to go through a costly trial. This is the same thing as the above-described default divorce only there will not be the waiting period.

A settlement agreement can let the spouses avoid having to go to court. A signed settlement agreement must be provided and it has to adhere to the rules of the county in which the case is being heard. A certified statement that answers all questions the judge will ask if the spouses were in court is required to move forward with a settlement agreement default divorce without a court appearance.

International And Out-of-State Divorces

signing divorce papers

In certain circumstances, it might not be possible for a person who is getting divorced to attend the hearings and the attorney might be allowed to represent the spouse who is unavailable in the proceeding. If the person has moved out of the state or out of the country and the divorce is relatively amicable and the terms have been agreed to, the court might let the attorney make the statements that the spouse would be asked to make. This can be viewed as a divorce by mail because the bulk of the communication between the participants will be done through email, telephone calls and other electronic means.

The rules are somewhat different for military personnel, but if the divorce is agreed upon, it can be handled without the need for the servicemember to be present. All that is needed for a divorce in New Jersey for a person who is out-of-state, in another country or serving in the military is that one of the participants has established residency in New Jersey and they present a reason for the divorce action. The reason presented can be adultery, abuse, addiction, incarceration, abandonment or simply irreconcilable differences. Once that is established, the divorce can be completed.

Speak To An Experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

In most cases, getting divorced would require the presence of the participants. Extenuating circumstances will allow the couple to essentially get divorced by mail without having to attend as long as the terms are agreed to and an attorney is representing the plaintiff or defendant in the case. It could be far less expensive and time-consuming to pursue one of these options if the situation calls for it and there is basic agreement on the terms of the divorce settlement. If you or a loved one are getting divorced in Freehold, Howell, Jackson or any other town in New Jersey and would like to consider a default divorce, or if you or your spouse is living out-of-state, out of the country or are a member of the United States military, the attorneys at the Law Firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey can assist you with a divorce by mail.

Other Resources In A Default Divorce

No Fault Divorce In New Jersey

Military Divorce In New Jersey

A Monmouth County Divorce Lawyer Outlines The Types of Alimony in NJ

Hiring A New Jersey Divorce Lawyer


Whether you are from Ocean County, Monmouth County or anywhere else in New Jersey, the lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. can help you with a default divorce case that you do not need to attend. Call 732-965-3404 today to discuss your case.

Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 965-3404 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.

Office Location

703 Richmond Avenue
Rt. 35 South
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
(732) 965-3404
(732) 892-9053 (fax)

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