Is an Uncontested Divorce the Fastest Way to End a Marriage in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the divorce process can take anywhere from several months to over a year, depending on the case’s complexity and whether both spouses can resolve key issues like custody, spousal support, and the distribution of marital property. If you and your spouse disagree on some or all of these issues, your divorce will be contested and may go to trial, where a judge will resolve the issues for you. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process. If you have discussed these issues productively and reached an agreement on all matters, you may qualify for an uncontested divorce.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

 Just because you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, it does not mean the divorce process must be bitter and contentious. While you certainly did not plan to have your marriage end in divorce, you and your spouse can make it a priority to resolve your issues as quickly and with as little conflict as possible by pursuing an uncontested divorce. This is an option if you agree on all the issues that must be resolved in the divorce process, including who will have custody of the children, how the marital property should be divided, and whether you or your spouse is eligible for spousal support. A contested divorce is generally easier, less time-consuming, and less expensive than a contested divorce.

How Do I Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce?

 An uncontested divorce may allow you and your spouse to finalize your divorce timelier and cost-effectively. In addition, you are more likely to maintain a respectful and even amicable relationship, which can be extremely beneficial, particularly if you have children. To qualify for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree on the following issues:

  • Allegations state in the grounds for divorce
  • Spousal support
  • Custody and parenting time if you have minor children
  • Child support, as well as health insurance and medical expenses for the children
  • The equitable division of all marital property and debts

 Do I Need to Cite Grounds for an Uncontested Divorce?

New Jersey allows for both no-fault and fault-based divorces. If you are seeking an uncontested divorce, you will most likely pursue a no-fault divorce where you would cite irreconcilable differences as your grounds for divorce. This means that your marriage has been broken for at least six months, and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

 What Are the Steps Involved in an Uncontested Divorce?

 While a contested divorce is much less complicated and contentious than a contested divorce, you will still need to fill out a range of forms and complete the required steps. Your divorce lawyer can address all of your questions and concerns and assist you with the following:


  • Prepare the divorce forms. Even if you and your spouse agree to all the divorce terms, New Jersey does not allow you to file jointly. One of you must start the process by filling out and filing the required forms. You can find these forms and other helpful information on the New Jersey Courts’ Self-Help divorce page. The most important document you must prepare is the divorce complaint, which provides the court with information about you, your marriage, and whether you are asking for spousal and child support.
  • File your divorce papers. The next step in an uncontested divorce is to file your divorce complaint, settlement agreement, and other important documents with the Family Division of the New Jersey Superior Court in the appropriate county. The county in which you file your paper will depend on several factors, including:
    – Where you and your spouse were living during the last six months of your marriage
    – The county where your spouse was living if you were living in a different state when you filed your divorce papers
    – The county where you or your spouse is regularly employed
  • Serve the divorce papers to your spouse. You can serve your spouse with divorce papers in person, mail the documents, or arrange or have them hand-delivered by the sheriff or an authorized process server. Once your spouse has received the papers, they must sign an “acknowledgment of service” filed with the court.
  • Wait for a response to the divorce complaint. If you pursue an uncontested divorce, your spouse may only need to file an appearance form. If your spouse does not file an appearance within 35 of receiving the divorce papers, you may be able to file for a default divorce, where a judge grants a divorce without your spouse’s involvement.

Once the divorce papers have been filed, court staff may schedule conferences or court events they deem necessary. This may include one or more of the following:


  • Case management conferences
  • Custody and parenting time mediation
  • Parent Education Workshop
  • Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel and/or Economic Mediation
  • Discover, which is the process of exchanging documents and information that both parties will use in court

Do I Need to Hire a Divorce Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?

 Uncontested divorces tend to be significantly less complicated and contentious. However, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who can ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the entire process, negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement, address any questions or concerns that may arise, and help you avoid common mistakes that couples make that can hurt their settlement. Most divorce lawyers offer a free initial consultation, where you can ask questions about the timing and cost of an uncontested divorce and any other issues you would like to discuss.

Our Somerville Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Assist Clients with Uncontested Divorces

If you and your spouse have decided to get an uncontested divorce, do not hesitate to contact our Somerville divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Even if you and your spouse agree on all of the issues that need to be resolved during the divorce process, it is in your best interest to have a dedicated divorce lawyer on your side. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville, Morristown, and Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, Morris Plains, and Monmouth County.