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Uncontested Divorce

The term "uncontested divorce", while subject to various meanings, generally refers to a situation wherein the parties have already come to a verbal or written agreement detailing the terms of their separation. 

The agreement may be the product of mediation, represented negotiation, or even direct dealings between the parties.  In most cases, agreements are reached through a hybrid of mediation and represented negotiation, wherein the mediator serves as the neutral facilitator, but subject to the approval of the attorney advocate. The attorneys may or may not be physically present for mediation sessions, but are nonetheless substantially involved in the process.  The mediation sessions might begin prior to the filing of the divorce complaint, or sometime thereafter. In NJ, most divorce cases are referred to mandatory economic mediation if a case remains unresolved past a certain point in the litigation process. Many divorce cases are resolved at that juncture.

When a couple attends mediation on their own accord, prior to retaining attorneys, or hammer out an agreement on their own, it is absolutely imperative that each party consult with their own counsel to ensure that they are getting a fair deal.  With the abundance of unverified information on the internet and cookie cutter “do it yourself” kits, many people wind up misinformed about their rights. In far too many cases, they find themselves regretful, broke, and emotionally defeated, with little to no chance of legally challenging the outcome of the divorce. As the saying goes, it is better to be pound wise and penny foolish.

When an agreement has been signed by the parties and properly reviewed by counsel, a proceeding known as an "uncontested hearing" will be scheduled before the assigned Judge.  It is critical to be aware that the Judge makes no findings as to the fairness or adequacy of an agreement at an uncontested hearing. Rather, the Judge's main concern is whether the parties understand their divorce agreement and are entering into the same knowingly and voluntarily. The Judge will also question the Plaintiff as to the allegations posed in the Complaint. If there is a Counterclaim, the Defendant will be similarly questioned.

As can be suspected, where child or spousal support is involved, the entry of a final judgment of divorce is rarely the end of the parties' dealings. The ties that bind are continuing, leading to the possibility of additional litigation down the road.  To that end, it is of the utmost importance that your divorce agreement be carefully and thoughtfully drafted so as to minimize the chance that you will be sitting in the same Courtroom only a few years, or even months, after the initial divorce.

Whether you have been married for five years or thirty-five, your matrimonial matter deserves the undivided attention of a qualified attorney certified to practice in the State of New Jersey.  Please contact us today.

Telephone: 732-952-2903
Fax: 732-952-2905
Email: info@stutzkelaw.com
Address: 515 Washington Road
Suite 2, Parlin, NJ 08859

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