The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted attorney Brad Micklin to develop a service for spouses who don’t want to wait for social distancing restrictions to lift before filing for divorce. This divorce service, known as an E-Divorce, takes some of the pressure off spouses who are currently housebound due to government restrictions and are unable to attend attorney meetings and court hearings in person. With an E-Divorce, you can use video conferencing, e-documents, and other technology to file and finalize your divorce from the comfort of your own home.
An E-Divorce allows divorcing couples to quickly agree to the distribution of their assets and make other arrangements without the courts being involved in the negotiation process. It works best for spouses who see eye-to-eye on all aspects of their divorce. Since your negotiations surrounding asset division and parenting time are just between you and your spouse (without mediators), you both need to be solution oriented.
If you and your soon-to-be ex are on the same page about making some necessary compromises and getting through your divorce as quickly as possible, you’re right on track to have a successful E-Divorce with The Micklin Law Group.
Initial Inquiry, Conflict Check, and Consultation
The E-Divorce process begins with your initial inquiry. Our first step after hearing from you is to determine whether we are legally able to represent you in your divorce, or if there is a conflict of interest to consider. We are ethically prohibited from representing both people in the marriage at the same time. This means a conflict of interest could arise if your spouse has had a consultation with any of our attorneys in the past. It also means that to prevent a conflict of interest in the future, either you or your spouse must hire us for an E-Divorce – we cannot represent both of you.
Once we’ve determined we are able to represent you, we’ll set up an initial consultation using our video conferencing program. Brad will take this time to learn about your circumstances and determine whether an E-Divorce can be applied to your situation. You’re also welcome to ask Brad about the E-Divorce process, his family law philosophy, or anything else that’s on your mind. If you are prepared to move forward following the consultation, we will then request a retainer and enter into an agreement to represent you.
You’ll complete intake paperwork following the payment of Brad’s retainer. This paperwork covers a large volume of information that is relevant to your divorce and will allow Brad to efficiently pursue the divorce on your behalf. As you fill out this paperwork, you’ll need a complete knowledge of your marital assets, debts, and more.
You and your spouse will have to cooperate by sharing information about your marriage, finances, and children with each other if you want an E-Divorce to work. Now isn’t the time to “forget to mention” a joint credit card or bank account – in fact, it could be illegal. An E-Divorce cannot be successful if one spouse is withholding information; if this becomes the case in your situation, you may be forced to take a more aggressive approach and resolve your divorce in court.
Drafting Documents for the Courts
After you’ve negotiated all aspects of the divorce with your spouse, there are several documents your New Jersey E-Divorce attorney must file with the local courts to begin the official divorce process. This paperwork outlines your divorce for the courts by showing that both parties agree to the terms you’ve established – including the distribution of property – and by specifying it is an uncontested divorce.
Complaint and Summons
The Complaint document will show that you’re filing for a divorce. It generally must be “served” to your spouse, and they will then have a period of time to respond to the Summons. However, the next set of documents will waive this process since you and your spouse are already on the same page about the divorce.
Acknowledgment of Service and Waiver of Time to Answer
The Acknowledgement of Service form relieves the filing spouse of the responsibility to formally serve the divorce paperwork to the other spouse. It shows the courts that both spouses are aware of the divorce. Then, a Waiver of Time to Answer form will show that the non-filing spouse has declined to take advantage of their legally allowed 35 days to respond to the Summons. Instead, you are already prepared to provide the court with your proposed divorce agreement.
Entry of Default
This form shows that the non-filing spouse has no legal responsibility to the divorce filings; basically, it means that the court should consider a default judgment and agree to your terms of the divorce because it is uncontested. In an uncontested E-Divorce, it is how we show the court that your spouse doesn’t have any objections to the proposed distribution of assets, parenting plan, etc.
Property settlement agreement
This one is pretty self-explanatory. It outlines the agreement you’ve come to with your spouse regarding how your assets will be distributed in the divorce.
Proposed Final Judgment of Divorce
The Final Judgement of Divorce is the written court order that formally dissolves the marriage. It will contain your proposed terms of all the aspects of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and division of property. If the judge agrees to your Proposed Final Judgement, it will become an official divorce decree.
Court Hearing and Finalizing Your Divorce
When the necessary documents have been filed by your attorney, you will have the opportunity to review the information and make changes as needed. It’s important to make these modifications before the court hearing, especially since you will not be present in court with your attorney.
After filing the necessary paperwork, your attorney will be called to represent you in a two-hour hearing with the courts. You are not required to attend this hearing; it is simply to ensure that all the required documents have been approved by the court prior to finalizing the divorce. If the judge thinks the agreement you reached with your spouse is fair, and if all the paperwork is in
order, you will be permitted to sign the official documents and finalize your divorce with the courts. E-signatures are considered legally binding, so even the final step of the E-Divorce process can be completed without you having to leave your home.
Consider An E-Divorce with The Micklin Law Group
If you’re interested in an E-Divorce and think you may be a good candidate, contact the Micklin Law Group team to learn more. You can also visit our E-Divorce webpage to determine whether your situation qualifies you for an uncontested E-Divorce, or if we may recommend a different approach to your divorce.
One of the most appealing aspects of an E-Divorce is its convenience, but it is also a more cost-effective approach. Your E-Divorce could be thousands of dollars less than a contentious, in-court divorce, but you will still receive our family law firm’s full breadth of experience and guidance throughout the process. If you’re ready to pursue an E-Divorce without having to ever leave your home, contact us to learn more and get started.