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New Jersey Divorce Attorneys

Experienced, compassionate legal support for navigating the divorce process

Divorce is hard. Whether you are considering divorce, in the middle of the process, or dealing with its aftermath, divorce brings up lots of difficult questions. “How did this happen?” “What will the future bring?” “Will my children and I be okay?”

During this time, knowledgeable and compassionate legal support can be the difference between finding a new beginning or feeling stuck in the past.

At Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski, we help clients navigate some of the most challenging moments of their lives. Our experienced team of attorneys works to make the divorce process less stressful and overwhelming for our clients through our personalized, client-first approach.

Our Approach to Divorce at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski

When you find the right attorney for your divorce, you do not just find legal representation. You find someone who will help prepare you for the process, understand your options, and create a path forward with your life.

At Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski, we believe that each client deserves to feel confident and supported throughout their divorce. Our approach to family law is built around the idea that:

  • Every family law matter requires an approach that is customized to their needs
  • Transparency and education are the foundation of our relationship with clients
  • Clients deserve the chance to start over and build a new life for themselves and their families

We are advocates and champions for our clients. Our goal is to find the best solution for your divorce so you can move forward to a happier future.

The Divorce Process in New Jersey


While divorces may differ depending on the needs of the two parties, there are seven general steps to divorce in New Jersey.

Filing of Initial Pleadings.

The plaintiff spouse files the Complaint for Divorce. The defendant spouse is then served with the Summons and Complaint.

If the defendant does not accept service voluntarily, service must be done via a process server. Within 35 days after service of the Complaint, the defendant files a response, known as an Answer, Appearance or Counterclaim.

Case Information Statement.

A Case Information Statement (CIS) must be filed by both sides within 20 days from the filing date of the Complaint or Answer/Counterclaim. The CIS details basic information about your family, employment, recurring expenses, financial assets and liabilities, and more.

Notices of Motion.

Motions address the case issues, pendente lite, Latin for “during the pendency of the action.” These issues may pertain to support and/or visitation. Motions are filed 24 days before the date the Court lists the case for the motion hearing, or oral argument. The litigants are permitted to be present during oral argument.


Discovery is the exchange of documentation and information between the parties. It includes the answering of Interrogatories, Depositions, Appraisals, and evaluations.

Early Settlement Panel/Economic Mediation.

After completion of discovery (about six months from filing the Complaint), the contested financial case should be scheduled for a hearing by an Early Settlement Panel (ESP).

If the case is settled, a divorce will be granted the same day. If the case is not settled, the parties would be required to attend Mediation.

Conferences with Judge.

A Case Management Conference (CMC) pertains to discovery scheduling and may be scheduled at any time. An Intensive Settlement Conference (ISC) is scheduled if the parties cannot reach a resolution following Economic Mediation.

Trial Date.

If an agreement is not reached at the ISC, then the parties will proceed to trial.

Remember that the parties can seek settlement at any time after filing the complaint. If a settlement is reached, the matter can proceed to the entry of a Final Judgment of Divorce at any time.


Whether you are considering filing for divorce or have already filed and started the divorce process, our New Jersey divorce lawyers can help. Schedule your consultation with our team today.

What Are The Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?


New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state. “No-fault” means that if a couple wishes to divorce, the court does not require them to provide a reason for the divorce, nor is blame placed on either party.

Such no-fault grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences wherein the party alleging such grounds must assert that irreconcilable differences arose between the parties at least six months prior to the filing of the Divorce Complaint and that there is no prospect of reconciliation.

Additionally, New Jersey also allows couples to seek a fault-based divorce. Common fault-based grounds include:

  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Addiction
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Imprisonment
  • Institutionalization for mental illness
  • Deviant sexual conduct

The decision to file a Complaint or Counterclaim for Divorce based upon irreconcilable differences or fault-based grounds is personal and typically does not have an impact on the ultimate outcome of the matter.

Divorce can be a difficult and stressful experience—but there is life after divorce. At Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski, we are here to help and support you during this challenging time so you can have the future you want. Schedule your consultation with our team today.

Services Our Divorce Attorneys Can Help With


A divorce can impact many aspects of your life. Our experienced attorneys support couples with a wide range of matrimonial and family law matters, in addition to divorce. Our NJ divorce attorneys are prepared to offer legal assistance with all of the following:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Asset identification
  • Property division
  • Post-judgment applications
  • Domestic violence

No matter what your family law issue is, the matrimonial and family law attorneys at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski can guide you through the process, give legal advice, and work to protect your interests. Schedule your initial consultation with our family law team today.

Mediation services

Many families turn to mediation as an alternative to a litigated divorce. Mediation is not just less costly than litigation—it offers a range of benefits:

  • Quicker resolutions
  • More control over the final outcome of the divorce proceedings
  • Greater privacy and confidentiality
  • Greater opportunity to find common ground and achieve a consensus with your former spouse
  • Reduced conflict for families with children

Learn more about our divorce mediation services

High net worth divorces

High net worth divorce clients have a unique set of legal needs and concerns during the divorce process.

Our legal team has the knowledge and experience to ensure that your best interests are always protected during a high net worth divorce, whether those interests are personal, financial, or business-related. We help clients navigate issues such as:

  • Evaluating existing prenuptial agreements
  • Navigating investment issues and any related tax implications
  • Determining value for real estate, business holdings, and other assets

Because the financial stakes are high in a high net worth divorce, clients benefit from legal counsel that can offer support in both mediation and litigation. Our experienced high net worth divorce legal team can provide vigorous advocacy and defense, no matter the setting.


Learn more about how we approach high net worth divorces at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski.

High conflict divorce

Emotions run high in even the most amicable of divorces, but some divorces are more contentious than others. At times it may seem like any kind of agreement is impossible.

In cases of high conflict divorce, one or both of the parties cannot reach a consensus on terms of their divorce. Sometimes the conflict stems from differences between the couple, such as how to approach parenting. Other times, emotional or mental health issues or post-separation legal abuse can lead to a high-conflict divorce.

If you are concerned about conflict in your divorce proceedings, it is important to reach out to a legal team that is experienced in navigating high conflict divorces. They can provide you the support and strategy you need to find resolution.

Learn more about our approach to high conflict divorces.

Speak with One of Our Divorce Attorneys Today


Divorce can be challenging, but you do not have to navigate it alone. Whether you have already filed for divorce or are still weighing the idea, we are here to help. The experienced divorce attorneys at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski can guide you through every step of the divorce process while helping you protect your best interests.


How does it affect the divorce if one spouse cheated?

Adultery is recognized as valid grounds for divorce. Aside from that, being unfaithful typically has little effect on the equitable distribution of marital assets, child custody, or alimony. However, if marital assets were used to further such extramarital activities, a party may assert a claim for the dissipation of assets and seek reimbursement.

What is the difference between a “fault” and a “no-fault” divorce in New Jersey?

A no-fault divorce is one that is based on irreconcilable differences and does not require that fault be assigned to either party. To qualify for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, one spouse must show that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for a minimum of six months and that there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation.

A fault-based divorce, on the other hand, assigns blame for the divorce to one party. The grounds for fault divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Addiction
  • Desertion
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Institutionalization for mental illness
  • Imprisonment
  • Deviant sexual conduct

The petitioner must prove each element of the grounds in order for the divorce to be granted.

What is an “uncontested divorce”?

A divorce can either be contested or uncontested. If the parties agree on all matters contained in the divorce complaint, the divorce is uncontested. This means that the case will not go to trial. After a formal hearing and the submission of required documents, the divorce is granted.

If, however, there are disagreements on any material matter, the divorce is considered to be contested and will continue on though the divorce legal process. The spouses may dispute certain issues such as:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Distribution of assets
  • Other matters

How much will my divorce cost?

The cost of divorce can vary greatly depending on your relationship with your spouse, the level of legal support you need, whether you need to hire additional experts (such as appraisers or forensic accountants), or if you utilize mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods to complete your divorce. If a divorce is in your future, you should certainly discuss all possible costs and expenses with your spouse and a qualified New Jersey family law attorney before starting the process. In the majority of cases, if you are willing to compromise and take your emotions out of the equation, the better off you will be financially.

Do I have to pay alimony?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is post-divorce financial support for a former spouse. In the state of New Jersey, there is not a set formula used to calculate alimony. A range of different factors play into alimony decisions:

  • Length of marriage
  • Financial needs
  • Ability to pay support
  • And more

As such, whether you will need to pay alimony will depend heavily on the facts of your situation. We encourage individuals to reach out to an experienced attorney to help them determine whether they may need to pay alimony.

Do I have to pay child support?

In New Jersey, children have a right to be financially supported by both their parents. That means that every parent is obligated to provide some level of financial support for their child. How child support arrangements are worked out depends on a range of factors, but ultimately the final amount of support is calculated by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, although the court may deviate from guidelines as needed.

It is important to note that child support is considered a separate issue from parenting time. Even if a parent does not have custody or visitation, they are still obligated to pay child support. The opposite is true as well—even if a parent cannot pay child support, they are still allowed their agreed upon parenting time.

What is child custody?

Child custody in New Jersey refers to the legal arrangements made between two parents following a divorce or separation about where and with whom their child will live and how decisions will be made for them.

Child custody is multifaceted, involving both “legal custody” and “physical custody.”

  • Legal custody refers to the authority to make major decisions that will impact the child’s education, health, safety, and welfare. Examples of these decisions include where a child goes to school, any medical treatment they might require, or attending religious services.
  • Physical custody pertains to where and with whom a child lives.

Custody in both regards can be either “joint” or “sole.”

In the state of New Jersey, the view of the courts is that it is in a child’s best interests to have relationships with both parents. The courts allow families flexibility in creating custody arrangements that help meet their needs, but if a family cannot come to a mutually acceptable arrangement, they will intervene to help identify what is in the best interest of the child.

Child custody can become a contentious issue for parents, but at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski, we believe that with the right support, families can find creative solutions to help their children thrive. Reach out to talk with one of our experienced child custody attorneys today.

What is an annulment?

Annulment is a legal process that dissolves a marriage. Annulment differs from divorce because the law views the marriage as if it did not happen.

In New Jersey, there are limited grounds for having an annulment granted. These grounds include:

  • You or your spouse was under 18 years old at the time of your marriage, and since either you or your spouse turned 18, you have not engaged in sexual relations.
  • You or your spouse was unable to understand you were marrying due to a mental condition or intoxication
  • Coercion to marry based on fraud, lies, or severe threats by you or your spouse
  • Incurable impotence by you or your spouse at the time of the marriage
  • Illegal marriage due to close family relationship between you and your spouse
  • Bigamy on the part of you or your spouse

It is important to note that a “civil annulment” differs from a “religious annulment.” “Civil annulments” refer to the legal process of annulling a marriage. In contrast “religious annulment” can only be provided by a church or clergy and does not legally impact your marital status.

Where should I file for divorce if my spouse lives out of state?

If you live in New Jersey but your spouse resides out of state, it is possible to obtain a divorce.

For example, if your spouse is in the military but stationed in an out-of-state duty location, you can file for divorce as long as they are a registered resident of New Jersey. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, it may not even be necessary for them to attend divorce hearings as long as their legal representation can file the paperwork and appear in court for them.

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