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The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards Can Help In Your Divorce Case
A contested divorce is not a quick process. To begin, your divorce attorney will file a Complaint for Divorce, which is basically a lawsuit which seeks the termination of your marriage, as well as the equitable distribution of the family’s assets and liabilities, and, in appropriate cases, it will seek child support, spousal support, and other relief. The attorney must be careful to include all necessary statutory notices with the Complaint, as well as an Affidavit of Insurance Information, amongst other things. When you are going through a marital crisis, turn to New Jersey’s finest, and give the Law Offices of Jordan B. Rickards a call. Mr. Rickards has handled a large variety of marital disputes and divorces, and will give your case the attention and care that it deserves.
Starting The Divorce Process
Once your spouse is successfully served (or, in the alternative, if your spouse has initiated the proceedings and has served you), the next step is for the defendant to submit an answer. This is a legal pleading that responds to the allegations in the Complaint.
If the defendant does not answer in time, or at all, the case goes into default. There is a somewhat involved process to move a case into default, which requires an experienced divorce attorney. Assuming it is successful however, this allows the divorce to proceed without the other side participating. This gives a considerable advantage to the plaintiff.
If the Complaint is answered by the defendant, the case goes into formal litigation and can head in a lot of directions. If there are children, the parties will be required to attend parenting time mediation. Even without children, the case will almost certainly be referred to the Early Settlement Panel (ESP). At this proceeding, your attorney will submit a statement to the panelists (usually two other family law attorneys) to see if the case can be settled, or failing that, if any progress can be made on any of the issues.
If the case is not resolved there, it can be sent to economic mediation. There, another divorce lawyer will try to iron out the money-related issues with the parties, to try to get the case settled.
Working Towards A Settlement
While this is happening, it is often the case that one of the spouses requires the financial support of the other, and cannot reasonably wait until the case to conclude to begin receiving support. After all, divorces can take months — and in rare cases years — at a time. When this happens, an attorney will be well advised to file a motion for pendente lite relief (which is simply a complicated way of saying “I want something to happen while the matter is pending”). The most common request in such a motion is for the other spouse to pay spousal and/or child support while the divorce is taking place, with final calculations to be made (and such relief potentially modified) later. These motions can, and often do, seek the other side to help pay the divorce attorney's fees as well, believe it or not.
Sending A Case To Trial
In the event that, after all of this, the case is still not settled, then it is set down for trial. This does not happen quickly. At the trial, all unresolved issues will be litigated in great detail, and a family law judge will do his or her best to determine the relief that the respective parties receive.
Sadly, these cases often do not end with the divorce. It is not uncommon for the parties to come back to court year after year to modify various features or arguments, or because the other side is not complying with the divorce decree, or for any number of other reasons, and it is almost always because something was not done right the first time.