Spouses can divorce in New York and New Jersey by mutual agreement. This process is much faster and easier. But if one person does not agree, the legal procedure for a contested divorce begins.
Stages of a contested divorce in New York and New Jersey:
• One of the spouses draws up a divorce petition with the help of a lawyer. It indicates all the reasons for the beginning of the divorce proceedings. Within 120 days, the divorce applicant must serve the spouse with a summons about this.
• The spouse who disagrees with the divorce has 20-30 days to accept the terms of the divorce or to challenge them.
• After that, the spouse who wants to get divorced goes to court. A preliminary court hearing must be scheduled within 45 days after that.
• Each spouse must submit a statement of income, assets, and debts no later than ten days before starting the preliminary hearing. Also, the judge may ask the lawyers of the parties to consult with each other to discuss possible compromises.
• At a preliminary hearing, the court reviews the spouses’ proposal for divorce and sets a date for a formal hearing.
• Suppose a compromise has not been reached between the spouses, and one of the parties still does not want to divorce or does not accept the proposed conditions for divorce. In that case, the parties’ lawyers begin to collect arguments and evidence that they will use to defend their client. In the process, they may meet to discuss this with each other and try to compromise.
• At the final hearing, the court listens to both parties and makes a final decision.• If both parties or one of the parties are not satisfied with the court’s decision, they have the right to appeal to a higher court.