NJ Residents May Now Obtain Divorce Judgments “On The Papers” With No Court Appearance Required

On June 5, 2020, the Administrative Office of the Courts issued Directive #18-20, allowing trial courts in New Jersey to enter a judgment granting a divorce in default and uncontested cases on the papers without requiring the parties to appear personally before the court. Judges have discretion to schedule hearings in such matters if necessary which may be heard remotely using telephonic or video technology. The types of cases to which Directive #18-20 applies include verified complaints for divorce, annulments, dissolution of civil unions, and the dissolution of domestic partnerships.

Default divorces are cases in which one spouse has filed for divorce, properly notified the other spouse, and that other spouse has not filed any response with the court. Uncontested divorces are cases in which the spouses both want the divorce or termination and agree on all issues between them.

The procedure by which the divorce decree may be issued “on the papers” without the necessary of a personal appearance is available if the spouse who filed the divorce complaint is only asking the court to:

1. Terminate the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership with no additional request for relief; or
2. Terminate the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership and includes any signed property settlement agreement or existing final court order that resolves all issues between the spouses (such as custody, child support, and property distribution).

For those cases that include a property settlement agreement, each party is required to submit a certification (attached to Directive #18-20) which includes an acknowledgment that each party understands they have a right to an independent review of the agreement by the court prior to signature.

The spouse who filed a pleading in the case can resume any name used before the marriage or change his or her name, consistent with New Jersey law.

Directive #18-20 is attached here – [gview file=”https://vanarellilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Directive-18-20.pdf”]

For additional information concerning New Jersey divorce law, visit:

Family Law Services