Couples can initiate their do it yourself divorce by filing a "Complaint for Divorce" with Chancery Division of the court as long as one of the spouses have lived in the state of New Jersey for at least twelve consecutive months. Be prepared to provide proof of residence if you're going the do-it-yourself route. According to New Jersey state law, the spouses must have lived with irreconcilable differences for at least six month in order to file for divorce.
The spouse who filed the complaint for the do it yourself divorce becomes the plaintiff while the other spouse becomes the defendant. In New Jersey, the defendant has 30 days to reply to the filing of the complaint after receiving the summons from the court that the plaintiff has filed the Complaint for Divorce.
When the plaintiff responds, he or she is able to file a counterclaim. From this point, you will have 20 days to reply to the counterclaim, and you will be required to separately attend a workshop. However, this is not required. When both spouses sign a settlement agreement and the divorce is not contested, the divorce heads to trial. The divorce will become legitimate in the state of New Jersey.
If after 35 days your spouse hasn't replied to the Complaint for Divorce, the divorce goes into default. If there isn't a signed marital separation agreement, the defendant will receive another notification from the court. This gives the defendant 20 days to prepare for the final divorce hearing. During this hearing, the judge can hand down the divorce degree even if the defendant hasn't responded to the court summons or made an appearance in court.
Plaintiffs should be aware that the defendant can file for extensions for financial reasons and to determine temporary custody for minor children. Both the plaintiff and defendant will be required to provide proof of income and other assets for the New Jersey courts to determine whether the divorce agreement is fair.