How Does Simplified Divorce Work?

Apr 9, 2019 by

Yesterday, I received a distressed call from one of my fraternity brothers from my college days. He told me that he had been having a lot of trouble in his marriage recently and that his wife was considering filing for divorce. He asked for my help because he is too emotional to think straight, and he needs advice. He did not know if he needed a lawyer or not and asked me to look into it for him so that he could focus on saving his marriage instead of figuring out how divorce works. I did some research and came across the website for the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., which had some very helpful information about divorce proceedings.

The website I found was for a lawyer that specifically practices in the area of simplified divorce, which is a subset of divorce law. In New Jersey, a judge can grant a “simplified” divorce if the two parties to the divorce are able to come to a reasonable agreement about the distribution of assets in the divorce. A simplified divorce is an expedited process that allows you and your spouse to stay out of court as much as possible. I had no idea that this was even an option. There are a few criteria that must be met for a simplified divorce. First, there are no minor children involved, which helps because it eliminates custody, visitation, and child support considerations. Also, both parties must agree that the marriage is ended and cannot be saved. If one party does not agree that divorce is necessary, it will make the process entirely more complex and they might contest issues that should be easily resolved. Finally, both parties must be in agreement about the distribution of marital property, which includes debt. If the partners don’t agree on major assets like house or vehicles, it makes the process much more complicated and adversarial than a simplified divorce.

Even though the divorce may be simplified and expedited, it is still recommended to hire an experienced attorney because even though it is a simplified divorce, there is almost never a truly simple divorce. It’s important to hire an attorney, especially if you are on good terms because it creates a new avenue for the communication about what you want and what you are willing to compromise on. You have an objective third party on your side that is your advocate, and they can communicate your wishes to the other party without the high emotion that can come when two people going through a divorce communicate with each other. You don’t want to give up assets or rights of yours that you really want just to keep the peace and keep your divorce amicable. Additionally, in order to resolve your divorce, you need to create a written agreement that will be presented to the judge in court. This document must be exhaustive and crystal clear with as few ambiguities as possible. Therefore, it’s important to have this document drafted by an attorney that has done this before and will not make the same mistakes a first-timer or an untrained legal writer would make.

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