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Understanding NJ Divorce Documents

Once you and/or your spouse determine that you will be seeking to obtain a divorce from the NJ Courts, certain divorce documents must be filed to both begin and continue the divorce process. Your divorce lawyer can file the documents with New Jersey Superior Court for you. As explained on our divorce proceedings page, the person who files the initial paperwork becomes the “plaintiff” in the proceedings and the other spouse is known as the “defendant.” The plaintiff is simply the person who files the complaint the defendant is simply the person who answers the complaint. There is no advantage to filing first, it typically does not matter who files the initial Complaint For Divorce.

How To File For Divorces In New Jersey

The first document that must be filed by the plaintiff is known as a Complaint forDivorce. The document will include the names of both spouses and their addresses if living together or separately. It must include the date and location of the marriage, and should indicate whether it was a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony. It must contain the names, ages, and dates of birth for any children born or adopted during the marriage. If there were any previous court proceedings involving the couple, such as an adopting or an issue of domestic violence, it must be listed as well.

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Finally, and most importantly the Complaint for Divorce must indicate and illustrate the grounds for divorce. In the state of New Jersey, there are several grounds for divorce accepted by courts. In addition to this document, the plaintiff must file a Confidential Litigant Information Sheet. This supplies the court with each spouse's specific personal information. It must contain all of the following pieces of information:

  • Date and place of birth for each spouse
  • Social security number for each spouse
  • Drivers' license number for each spouse
  • License plate number for each spouse
  • Mother's maiden name for each spouse
  • Children's social security numbers
  • Medical information for each spouse.

The final document in the initial documents phase that the plaintiff must file is called a Certificate of Insurance Coverage. This document provides the court with all types of insurance that the divorcing parties are covered by at the time of divorce. It should indicate health insurance, life insurance, homeowner's or renter's insurance, car insurance and any other insurance policies that have been taken out. All contact information for each insurance provider must be listed as well, along with all policy numbers and the names of all parties, including children, covered by the insurance. This document is required as all insurances that are in place at the time of the filing of the Complaint For Divorce and must remain in effect until such time as the proceeding is concluded.

Attorneys will also ask clients to sign a Consensual Dispute Resolution Certification (CDR) before these documents are submitted to the court. Both the plaintiff and the plaintiff's attorney sign this document, which states that the plaintiff has been given information about an alternative to a court obtained a divorce, such as mediation.

Divorce Response Documents From The Defendant

Once the plaintiff has filed all of the initial court documents, copies are served on the defendant. This is often called “being served” with divorce papers. Once the defendant is served, he or she has the right to have a response document of some kind filed with the court.

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The defendant can file what is known as an appearance. This simply states that they received the divorce paperwork and will participate in the divorce proceedings. The defendant can also file an answer to the divorce paperwork. An answer will either allow the defendant to admit or to deny the plaintiff's claims and allegations in the initial divorce complaint.

In some instances, the defendant might want to make what is known as a counterclaim. This is a document where the defendant presents his or her own grounds for divorce that they want the court to formally recognize. When this happens, the defendant then has to fill out all of the initial divorce proceedings paperwork as well such as certificates of insurance, confidential litigants statement, etc and it is served on the plaintiff.

If the initial Complaint For Divorce filed by the plaintiff states a valid basis for the divorce to proceed, the defendant does not have to enter their own grounds, unless they want the court to be made aware of them. The defendant could then simply file an appearance with the court under the matter could proceed. Additionally, in the state of NJ, divorce documents are a matter of public record, and so, the defendant may want to list their own counterclaims in an official document, in order to show their side of the situation. It is important to remember that since these papers are public record, children can, when they are older, obtain a copy and read their parents' Complaints For Divorce. That may be motivation to temper the language used in these documents, so as not to make a harsh situation even worse for the children.

Speak To An Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorney

If you or a loved one are planning a divorce in Ocean County, Monmouth County or anywhere else in New Jersey, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney from the Law Firm of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. The decision to file for divorce can be a difficult and emotional one. There are many documents that must be filed in order to complete the matter as quickly and easily as possible. It is easy to forget certain aspects of the process when dealing with the emotional upheaval of a divorce. This is why it is so important to have a qualified divorce lawyer to assist you through this difficult process. 

Other Resources - Divorce Documents

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Pitfalls Of Self-Representationd During A Divorce

No Fault Divorce In New Jersey

Friendly, Uncontested Divorce Process

Whether you reside in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Brick or any other town in New Jersey and you are interested in filing for a divorce, the attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. can help you. Call today at 732-751-4991 to discuss the NJ divorce process and divorce documents you will need.

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) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.