A no fault divorce is a divorce where there is no allegation of marital misconduct. It is based upon the fact that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
If the parties are separated for less than 2 years, the consent of the other spouse is required. However, if the parties are separated for more than 2 years, the law presumes the marriage is irretrievably broken and no consent is required.
Equitable distribution is the process of dividing marital assets/liabilities.
In non contested matters no court appearance necessary. If the matter is contested it is resolved by the Divorce Master. This proceeding is a series of conferences ending in a settlement or hearing.
A complaint in divorce may include a claim for custody, support, alimony, contribution to counsel fees and expenses.
Alimony is discretionary. There is no right to alimony.
A parent has an obligation to support his/her children. Support is paid to the custodial parent.
Spousal support may be contested based upon the misconduct of the requesting spouse.
Support is based upon the net incomes of the parties. Net income is the gross income less taxes, mandatory deduction for union dues, etc.
Support is based upon a 6 month average of wages. If a party has no actual earnings an earning capacity may be assessed based upon past employment history, education, etc.
It is not possible to determine a fee in advance because there is no way to determine the time necessary to conclude the matter. All fees are discussed and reduced to writing prior to establishing the attorney-client relationship.
Although the court may make an award of equitable distribution prior to the entry of a decree in divorce, as a practical matter this is an extraordinary remedy and it is generally not granted. In contested cases of equitable distribution there is no decree in divorce until those claims are resolved.