Sometimes, a marriage just doesn’t work out, whether it’s because the people fall out of love, realize they are no longer compatible, or for some other reason, and they seek a divorce. To get a divorce, you must first file for divorce (only 1 spouse needs to file), but when you file for divorce you are often asked why you are seeking a divorce. In many states, you can file what’s called a “no-fault” divorce. A no-fault divorce basically means that there was a breakdown of the marriage and you have irreconcilable differences. These no-fault marriages continue to gain in popularity, for example in 2007 New Jersey added the ability to file a divorce on irreconcilable differences ground, previously you could only file after a separation of at least 18 months, or extreme cruelty. Clearly, filing under irreconcilable differences requires the marriage for less time (only 12 months for New Jersey) and is easier to prove than extreme cruelty
Why Should You Claim Irreconcilable Differences?
There are two main reasons why claiming irreconcilable differences is better than claiming another cause for divorce. First, when you file a complaint or order with the court, it generally becomes a public document (there are exceptions). This means that anyone in the public could read what you filed with the court; this would include any allegations of adultery, extreme cruelty, or other types of embarrassing misconduct. Simply stating that it is a no-fault divorce can save face for both spouses. Second, a no-fault divorce can sometimes be done with simple forms filed with the court. This option is usually limited to those who do not have children or significant assets. Additionally, many courts may require you to create a “Marital Dissolution Agreement” which states how all the property of the couple is to be divided and who gets what.
Do I Have To Have An Attorney To File For Divorce?
As a rule of thumb, it is not mandatory to hire an attorney, however for most people, hiring an experienced attorney not only gives a person piece of mind (trying to navigate the legal battlefield is complex), but it often helps a person get the best possible resolution. When filing for divorce, there are usually intense emotions, potential emotional pain for children, and difficulty in figuring out the best way to split up assets. Furthermore, beyond the emotional issues, there is usually a fair bit of paperwork just to file for divorce. Additionally, an attorney can help explain the divorce process in your state (every state has different rules, regulations and time limits) and what certain terms and forms mean.
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