Photo of divorce papersDivorce affects families and individuals in more ways than can be counted. Decisions made in time of conflict and high emotion will continue to impact relationships and finances for what could be many years to come. Making the decision to hire a skilled and committed New York or New Jersey divorce attorney can better position you to make choices that will protect your rights and those of your children.

The divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. are eminently qualified to represent individuals and families in New Jersey and New York. With decades of service in family law matters and full-service law offices in Bergen County and Rockland County, we are prepared to put you and your children first.

What is the divorce process?

The divorce process varies based on the jurisdiction; specific requirements in New Jersey will be different from the specific requirements in New York. In general, though, the process for divorce will go something like this:

  1. Petitioner must meet residency requirement in the state where they plan to file.
  2. Petitioner files complaint stating the grounds for divorce, along with any other required paperwork and filing fee.
  3. Respondent is served with the complaint and then files a response which can involve a counterclaim.
  4. The petitioner responds to any counterclaim filed by the respondent.
  5. The parties exchange documents and file any motions relevant to their cases.
  6. The parties may reach a settlement on their own or be ordered to attend a mediation.
  7. If the parties do not reach an agreement, the case proceeds to trial.

Filing for divorce in NY and NJ

Filing for divorce in New York and New Jersey involves similar steps but they are not identical. The residency requirements and grounds for filing differ by state.

Filing for divorce in New York

There are several ways to meet the residency requirement. If you or your spouse have resided in New York State for at least two years before filing, then the requirement is satisfied. Alternatively, if either of you lived in the state continuously for at least one year and you either (1) got married in New York State or (2) lived in the state as a married couple or (3) the grounds for divorce took place in the state, you qualify. Residency is also met if you and your spouse are both residents of the state on the date the divorce is filed and the grounds for divorce took place here.

There are seven grounds for divorce:

  1. No fault: Irretrievable breakdown in relationship that lasts at least six months
  2. Cruel and inhuman treatment
  3. Abandonment
  4. Imprisonment of 3 years or more in a row
  5. Adultery
  6. Divorce after legal separation agreement of at least one year
  7. Divorce after judgment of separation

Filing for divorce in New Jersey

To file for divorce, either spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least one year. In the case of adultery, however, a spouse may file in New Jersey so long as one spouse is a resident.

There are nine grounds for divorce in New Jersey. The first two are “no fault” and the rest are fault-based.

  1. Separation of at least 18 months
  2. Irreconcilable differences ongoing for at least six months
  3. Abandonment for at least 12 months
  4. Addiction for at least 12 months
  5. Adultery
  6. Extreme cruelty
  7. Deviant sexual conduct
  8. Imprisonment leading to at least 18 months of living apart
  9. Institutionalization

Do I need a divorce attorney?

Studies show that as many as 85% of family law cases involve at least one party not represented by a lawyer. Bar associations across the nation have expressed concern that these parties are at a disadvantage because they are not equipped to protect their rights. While many self-represented litigants are primarily concerned about the cost of divorce, this plan can backfire; pro se parties can face longer proceedings, which are often dragged out unnecessarily when a party is not familiar with court rules. An experienced divorce attorney can help focus the issues to resolve the case more quickly while understanding the long-term impact of proposed resolutions.

It is especially important to consult a divorce lawyer if there are any complicating factors involved in the marriage, including children, property, or a business. Also be aware that divorce can have an unanticipated impact on unexpected areas, including:

  • Estate planning changes
  • Retirement benefits
  • Immigration issues

Even if you are considering an uncontested divorce, it is helpful to consult a New Jersey or New York divorce lawyer. The divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. have handled complex and routine family law matters for decades and understand how these may impact your life.

Legal issues that can arise in divorce

As a client-focused divorce attorney in NJ and NY, Paul B. Goldhamer works relentlessly to safeguard the interests of individuals and families in matrimonial law matters. He advises clients to follow his Ten Commandments of Matrimonial Law while guiding them through a number of related issues including:

Questions about divorce in NY or NJ?

At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C., our lawyers’ experience and versatility allows them to effectuate an amicable divorce settlement in many cases, and to aggressively protect your rights in highly contested proceedings that continue to trial. We see the big picture without losing sight of your here and now.

If you have questions about filing for divorce in New York or New Jersey, do not hesitate to speak with Paul B. Goldhamer and our team of divorce attorneys.With offices in Bergen County and Rockland County, we offer flexibility to accommodate your needs.

Additional Divorce Attorney Resources:

  1. NY Courts, Divorce Basics,
  2. NY Courts, Residency and Grounds,
  3., Divorce: New Jersey,
  4. Lewis & Clark University, The Growing Challenge of Pro Se Litigation,