Can a Divorce Be Finalized Without Going to Court?

Every marriage is a legal partnership. Therefore, a court ruling is required to finalize the termination of that partnership– even if neither spouse is contesting the divorce. This does not mean, however, that a court must be involved in every aspect of it.

At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, our divorce lawyers represent spouses in New York and New Jersey divorce cases. They help negotiate the terms and conditions of the dissolution of marriages with minimal court involvement.  We understand the physical and emotional strain of divorce proceedings. So, we strive to help our clients to manage the process as efficiently and effectively as may be possible.

What Issues Can Be Resolved Without Going to a Divorce Court?

Divorcing spouses will need to focus on four primary issues during the process of dissolving their marital partnership:

  • How will property acquired in the course of the marriage be allocated?
  • Will either spouse pay alimony or support payments to the other spouse after the divorce is final?
  • Which spouse will have primary custody of any children, and how and when will the other spouse be able to visit the children?
  • What amount of child support will each spouse pay?

Spouses that can reach some level of agreement on each of these issues will expedite the process. They will also reduce the likelihood of extensive involvement by a court in their divorce proceedings.   

What Can Divorcing Spouses Do if They Are Unable to Resolve Issues on Their Own?

Both New York State and New Jersey encourage divorcing couples to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to resolve issues apart from taking them to a divorce court. Those methods include:

  • Mediation, where a neutral third party reviews each party’s proposals and supporting documents and recommends ways to reach an agreement.
  • Collaborative divorce, where each spouse is represented by an attorney other than the attorney who might later represent them in court, and those attorneys participate with the couple in structured mediation and negotiations.
  • Divorce arbitration, in which an arbitrator, rather than a judge, makes final and binding decisions on all outstanding issues.

An experienced divorce attorney can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each of these ADR methods and can recommend the best alternative in view of the issues that need to be resolved.

Do Divorcing Spouses Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce Finalized in Court?

State divorce courts publish self-help guides to assist couples in filing a divorce case when the matter is uncontested. Those guides do not offer legal advice. They only provide a roadmap for what the divorcing couple needs to do to appear before a judge– to get a final decree on the dissolution of their marriage.

The judge will likely inquire about the parties’ divorce settlement and any outstanding issues. If the divorcing spouses do not follow the correct procedures or the judge believes that their settlement agreement is incomplete, they may direct the couple to revisit specific issues before the divorce is finalized.

Under these circumstances, many divorcing couples will hire attorneys for assistance in completing the process. Spouses that want to finalize their divorce as expeditiously as possible will inevitably save time and energy when they hire divorce lawyers at the outset.

Contact the Divorce Lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer, & Graifman for Advice on Minimizing Court Involvement in a Divorce

Divorcing spouses will often try to reduce the costs of a divorce proceeding by proceeding without legal assistance. If fees and expenses are a critical matter, each spouse will be better served by consulting a qualified divorce attorney at the onset. We are sensitive to these cost issues and regularly counsel our clients on ADR methods and other self-help techniques to reduce expenses.

We represent spouses in divorce proceedings in Bergen and Rockland Counties and elsewhere in New Jersey and New York. Please see our website or call any of our offices to schedule a private and confidential consultation. We will provide the guidance you need to reduce the involvement of a divorce court– and to plan a smooth path toward the dissolution of your marriage.