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As a specially trained Court Approved R. 1:40 Family Law Mediator, Bonnie Jerbasi can meet with couples and act as mediator for the issues that need to be resolved in order to get divorced.  In addition, mediation can be used for post-judgment issues and for relocation cases.

Exploring the Various Types of Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide on Divorce Options

Divorce is a legal process that dissolves a marriage or civil union, resulting in the termination of marital duties and responsibilities between spouses. The decision to end a marriage can be a complex and emotional one, often involving various legal considerations and implications for both parties involved.

Understanding the Basics of Divorce

What Is a Divorce?

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage or civil union by a court. It marks the end of a marital union, allowing both parties to remarry if they choose to do so. The process involves resolving issues such as the division of assets, child custody and financial support.

What Are the Different Types of Divorce?

There are several types of divorces that individuals can pursue based on their specific circumstances. These include uncontested divorce, no-fault divorce, contested divorce, fault divorce, collaborative divorce and mediated divorce, each with its own set of procedures and requirements.

What Are the Alternatives to Divorce?

For couples considering divorce, there are alternative options to explore before making a final decision. These alternatives may include mediation, separation agreements, counseling, or even reconciliation attempts to salvage the marriage before proceeding with a legal divorce.

Types of Divorce Processes

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on all terms of the divorce, including division of property, child custody and support. This type of divorce typically involves less conflict and is often resolved more quickly and cost-effectively compared to contested divorces.  These cases usually lend themselves to mediation, rather than litigation

Exploring Fault Divorce Cases

Fault divorce cases are based on specific grounds such as adultery, abandonment or cruelty. In these situations, one spouse alleges misconduct by the other as the reason for ending the marriage. Fault divorces can be contentious and may result in prolonged legal battles and therefore increased expenses.  Fault based divorces are rare these days and, in some cases, will have little or no impact on the outcome of a case. 

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a process where both parties work together with their respective attorneys to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. This approach promotes open communication, negotiation and problem-solving, aiming to minimize conflict and facilitate a fair resolution for all involved. 

Legal Procedures and Options

Understanding Contested Divorce

In a contested divorce, the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on key issues, leading to a more adversarial legal process. This type of divorce often involves court hearings, testimonies and the need for legal representation to advocate for each party’s interests.  Ultimately, if the parties cannot agree on settling the issues, a judge may be the one to make the decisions for the couple.

Overview of Default

A default divorce occurs when one spouse fails to respond to the divorce complaint or participate in the legal proceedings. It is also sometimes used to move a case forward once a settlement is reached. 

How to Navigate No-Fault Divorce Proceedings

No-fault divorce allows couples to end their marriage without placing blame on either party. In these cases, irreconcilable differences or breakdown of the relationship are cited as grounds for divorce, rather than specific wrongdoing by one spouse.  These proceedings are quicker, more efficient and less contentious than fault divorces.

The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce

Unlike fault-based divorces that require proving misconduct, no-fault divorces focus on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage as the primary reason for divorce. This shift in approach aims to streamline the process and minimize the emotional toll on both parties.

Importance of Mediation in Divorce

Role of a Divorce Mediator

A divorce mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates communication and negotiation between spouses during the divorce process. The mediator helps couples identify issues, explore solutions and work towards reaching a mutually acceptable settlement.  In New Jersey, a mediator can be an attorney, but that is not a requirement. 

Benefits of Mediated Divorce

Mediated divorce offers several advantages, including reduced conflict, lower costs, faster resolution and greater control over the outcome compared to traditional litigated divorces. It allows couples to make decisions together rather than relying on a judge to impose a ruling.  The goal of mediation is to have a written agreement, the Property Settlement or Marital Settlement Agreement, executed so that the court proceeding can go forward on an uncontested basis.

Factors to Consider in Divorce Settlement

Child Custody and Support Issues

Child custody and support arrangements are crucial aspects of any divorce involving children. Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements, visitation schedules and financial support obligations to ensure their well-being.

Alimony and Spousal Support Agreements

Alimony, also known as spousal support, may be awarded to one spouse to provide financial assistance following a divorce. The amount and duration of alimony payments are determined based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and financial needs.

Property Division and Marital Assets

Dividing marital assets, including real estate, investments, retirement accounts and personal property, is a critical aspect of the divorce settlement. New Jersey law follows equitable distribution laws, which aim to divide assets fairly but not necessarily equally between spouses based on various factors.

Q: What is a default divorce?

A: A default divorce occurs when one spouse files for divorce, but the other spouse does not respond or participate in the legal process. In this case, the court may proceed with the divorce based on the filing spouse’s request.  It is also used once there is a signed settlement agreement to move the case forward in court.

Q: How can a divorce lawyer help with the divorce process?

A: A divorce lawyer specializes in family law and can provide legal guidance and representation throughout the divorce process. They can help with paperwork, negotiations and court proceedings to ensure your rights are protected.  A divorce lawyer can also be consulted by a party while the couple is going through the mediation process.

Q: What is divorce mediation?

A: Divorce mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps divorcing couples reach agreements on issues such as child custody, asset division and alimony. It is a less adversarial and more collaborative approach to divorce.  The ultimate goal of mediation is to have a signed settlement agreement.  A mediator can draft a Memorandum of Understanding for the couple which will need to be converted to a Property Settlement Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement, which will be accomplished by an attorney.  Once this agreement is executed, the next step is seeking entry of a final judgment in court.

Q: What is the difference between using a mediator who is an attorney and one who is not an attorney?

A: In New Jersey, anyone can be certified as a mediator, however only an attorney can draft the final settlement agreement needed to proceed in court.  In no event can a mediator give legal advice to a couple in mediation as their role is to act as a neutral party assisting in reaching a settlement.  However, this does not mean that an attorney-mediator cannot share the law with the couple in mediation; they just cannot advocate for one party over the other. 

Q: What are the various types of divorce available?

A: There are several types of divorce available, including uncontested divorce, contested divorce, at-fault divorce, no-fault divorce, collaborative divorce and mediated divorce.

Q: What does it mean to get a divorce without going to court?

A: Getting a divorce without going to court usually refers to options such as mediation or collaborative divorce where couples work together outside of the courtroom to reach a settlement agreement.  Since Covid, courts in New Jersey are now conducting virtual final hearings or even entry of Final Judgment “on the papers” which means the parties do not have to appear in court in some settled cases. 

Q: What is an annulment in relation to divorce?

A: An annulment is a legal process that declares a marriage null and void, as if it never existed. It is different from divorce and usually has strict eligibility criteria based on specific circumstances.  Some religions have specifications regarding annulments.

Q: How does child support factor into the divorce process?

A: Child support is a legal obligation to provide financial support for children of the marriage. It is often determined during divorce proceedings based on factors such as income, custody arrangements, and the needs of the child.  In New Jersey, there are Guidelines that determine the amount of child support.

Q: What are some alternatives to traditional divorce?

A: Some alternatives to traditional divorce include mediation, arbitration and collaborative divorce services. These options provide couples with more flexibility and control over the divorce process.


The Law Offices of Bonnie Jerbasi  specialize in all areas of family law. If you are looking for a New Jersey family lawyer, please call (973) 459-5923 to schedule an appointment, or contact us online.    


I really appreciate what you did for us and it really saved us as we had been spending more than we had to end this relationship.  Thanks to you we were able to end it in a friendlier way through mediation.


33 Park Street Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: (973) 459-5923


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