A Quick Way To Determine if Your Divorce is Contested or Uncontested in New Jersey

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When asking divorce lawyers whether your case is considered contested or uncontested in New Jersey this is what you need to know:

People frequently come into our office and claim their divorce will be easy or that their case is very complicated and both may be true. We take the time to discuss the legal situation with you so we know what are the toughest issues to address in the case, which issues are most important to you and setting realistic expectations. If we believe that the potential client is realistic in their case goals, we will discuss our retainer and hourly rates. The most common case is a case where both parties want the divorce but there are major issues to resolve such as child custody, property division, alimony, child support and so forth. Knowing that you and your spouse want to get divorced is the easy part, it is often the other issues that make a case contested.

The only time a case is uncontested is when ALL issues are agreed to and the parties want that agreement either in writing or are waiving any interest in assets or there may be no assets to divide. We then process the legal paperwork, make the agreement, and upon execution, we submit the case to one of the Hudson or Essex County Judges for a signature and official court seal. In Hudson County, court appearances may be waived if the correct paperwork is submitted. Information concerning uncontested and no-fault divorces are here.

Visit our frequently asked questions concerning divorce cases here.Regardless if your case is contested or uncontested, we know how to handle the situation. Contact the divorce lawyers at the Artusa Law Firm of Jersey City today on  201-706-7910.

Divorce in Jersey City, NJ Hudson County

New Jersey Divorce Attorney Santo Artusa Jr

The New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division-Family Part, Hudson Vicinage is located at 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. “595” is where all family law issues are heard before the various judges that focus on family law matters that pertain to Hudson County residents who seek to file new motions, divorce cases, domestic violence/restraining orders, child custody, and/ or former Hudson County residents that seek to modify an old court order. Jersey City Attorney Santo Artusa focuses his practice primarily on family law matters in New Jersey. Mr. Artusa’s team is well versed in family law matters appearing before Judges Daniel D’Alessandro, Judge Maureen Mantineo, Judge Anthony D’Elia, Judge Mirtha Ospina, Judge Espinales, Judge Vito Scianclepore, arguing on behalf of their clients who seek: divorces, annulments, child custody, modifications of court orders, alimony, child support, domestic violence restraining orders, and beyond. If you have a case based in Hudson County and seek representation from attorneys that know and understand how to approach family law issues, contact the Artusa Law Firm today on 973-337-9643 to discuss your case confidentially.

3 Things to Know-Divorce Strategy in New Jersey- Does it Matter Who Files First?

Hudson County Divorce Lawyers and divorce lawyers throughout the country often field this question and we will quickly discuss the importance of filing for divorce first. This is what you need to know in short.

A divorce is considered a civil action in the New Jersey courts. There is a plaintiff and a defendant (in adultery cases there are defendants). One question people ask at times but not enough is, Does it matter who files first in a divorce in New Jersey? 

artusa-hoboken-minIn a case that has issues to determine, the answer is YES. The plaintiff is the person that files for divorce first and sets the tone for the entire case. He or she can file the case and file a motion for various relief right away placing the defendant against the ropes. Smart and experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyers can help your case by deciding the order in which the case is heard, can start with a motion or at trial, the plaintiff starts the case and controls the order of it. A first impression with a New Jersey Divorce Judge goes along way and the same hold trues in a divorce trial or other family law case (who brings the motion first). It is very hard to undo a first impression and very hard to stop the momentum the Plaintiff has going for him or her in a trial or motion. This hold true whether the case is in Union County, Hudson County, Bergen or beyond, the New Jersey Divorce Rules govern all the divorce courts and trials.


If you work with skilled and learned New Jersey divorce lawyers, he or she will plan out a strategy for your case to help you achieve your case goals. The case can be settled along the way or it can go to trial, either way, you must prepare as if you are going to trial so that you can negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness. If your opponent knows you are not ready, why would they negotiate and reach a fair deal with you? They will not.


If your spouse has filed and you are the Defendant, there is still much that can be done and it can be argued that the Defense has an upper hand because they get to go after the Plaintiff finishes their case, after cross-examination and beyond in a divorce in New Jersey. Regardless if you have been served, if you work with the right New Jersey divorce attorney, a strategy can be planned and the fight will begin. When you are served with motion papers or divorce papers you only have a certain amount of time and time is of the essence. Many people come into New Jersey Divorce Attorney Santo Artusa’s office after receiving divorce papers from: The Weinberger Law Group, Freeman Hughes, Weiner Lesniak, Irwin Tubman, Greenberg Walden Grossman, Chasan Leyner Lamparello, Anthony Carbone, Miller Meyerson and Corbo, Karen Saminski, Lesnevich and Marzano, Lyons and Associates, Maurice Giro, Einhorn Harris, Micklin Law Group, Edward Weinstein, Riker Danzig, Lofaro and Headley, Moskowitz Law Group and many others. Each attorney has a different style and it is important to know who you are dealing with in a family law and divorce case in Hudson County, Essex County, Union County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Bergen County and beyond. The Artusa Law Firm is skilled in representing people in sensitive family law matters and is experienced in arguing before the Judges in Hudson County and throughout Central and Northern New Jersey.

Our firm handles a variety of legal matters including: Child Support in New Jersey, Child Custody in New Jersey, Restraining Orders in New Jersey and so forth. For information about all of our practice areas, visit Artusa Law Firm of New Jersey.

Every divorce case is unique and needs an essential attention to details and patience. The Artusa Law Firm is here for people seeking help navigating through the family law and divorce world in New Jersey. If you seek a consultation in our Jersey City office, contact us today on 973-337-9643 today.

New Jersey Family Law Attorney


For a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer practicing out of Hudson County with many clients coming from the ever growing areas of Jersey City, the main focus in divorce actions in Hudson County-New Jersey and in Northern New Jersey are usually about alimony, child support, child custody, parenting time and the division of assets, tax planning and understanding the tax ramifications of making certain settlements is just as important as the settlement itself. As a New Jersey Divorce Attorney, I am not a tax expert but I do know many important elements of taxation and how settling your divorce in certain ways can help minimize tax implications and maximize tax benefits to help you mitigate any money that must be paid or that will be received to or from your spouse.

Alimony is a monetary transfer between spouses. Internal Revenue Code 215 (IRC 215) addresses the topic of deducting such payments (the payor). One advantage of paying a higher amount of alimony versus child support is that alimony is tax deductible while child support never is.  Furthermore, not only is alimony a tax deduction but it is a deduction that lowers the adjusted gross-income of the payor which is much better than an itemized one. Itemized deductions on the other hand can be limited to 2% of the overall gross income and after that, you lose the tax benefit.

For the person receiving alimony, that person must claim the alimony as income which does provide a benefit in the sense that this “earned income” can be used on the tax filings which permits the spouse to make contributions to an IRA for retirement planning. (IRC 219-f-1). However, if the parties agree that the alimony payments will not be subject to taxation and deductions, that is permitted under the law (Treasury Regulation 1.71-T(b)(A-8)).

The payment and tax planning of alimony can work out for both parties if done correctly. Depending on the income tax brackets of the parties, a plan can be created through income shifting to take advantage of the tax code.

Payments that are considered alimony according to the Internal Revenue Code must:
1- Be part of a divorce or separation which includes: A court decree or separate maintenance, or a written instrument incident to such a decree.
2-Any other court decree requiring one spouse to make payments for the support/maintenance of the other spouse.
3- A written separation agreement entered into by the spouses.

The alimony payments must also be made in cash which includes, checks, money orders. Services cannot be exchanged and considered alimony.


The dependency exemptions are also important in the divorce planning/child custody-support process. Post 1985-The custodial parent is entitled to this tax benefit unless the non-custodial parent and the custodial parent reach an agreement in writing as to the deductions and sign the written declaration Tax Form 8332, (2) Where a multiple support agreement exists. Multiple support relates to where no one person is paying for more than 50% of the support of the child (sometimes when the child lives in a home with the mother, grandparents, uncles, etc., who can argue they all contribute to the home expenses, food, etc.).

The Child Tax Credit

Under President Clinton, The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 became effective in 1998. This credit begins to phase out after a certain AGI is reached. So in divorce and tax planning , using the child tax deduction may not be wise for the higher earning spouse because of the income phase outs. The credit itself is not substantial alone in that it is worth about $500 per qualifying child, however, it is always better for the IRS to send you a refund then you sending them a check so try to utilize as many credits as possible and consider it in the divorce.


Retirement Plans- One of the bigger assets people tend to have or that couples tend to build their assets with are retirement plans. The company 401k, an IRA, A Roth IRA, etc. To transfer the assets in the plan to a spouse regarding a divorce, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is needed or a QDRO. This prevents any taxation or penalties form the IRS when this transfer occurs. However, the QDRO does not prevent future taxation when money is taken out of the 401k or other retirement asset.

Marital Residence in New Jersey-Transferring your stake in the property to your spouse will not subject you to taxation, however, if the house is sold, you must check with your accountant to discuss the cost basis and so forth to determine tax liability. The marital residence carries with it many tax benefits if one spouse is to keep the property and if the spouse or the parties agree to sell it, there are many ways to defer tax liabilities if proper tax planning is done. For example, if one spouse takes his or her share of the net proceeds and rolls these proceeds into another property after the divorce and certain conditions are met, each spouse can elect to take advantage of a $125,000 exclusion, if both do, $250,000 is the maximum ($125,000 each).  If the property is sold during the divorce, the exclusion may be limited to $125,000 total. If the property is held and to be sold at a later date (more than 2 years after the divorce), the spouse that leaves the residence and loses the “principal residence” status can lose his or her ability to use their $125,000 exclusion for their half interest and then suffer major tax consequences. For information about divorce and settling your case with different assets to work with, read our article on lexis nexis about New Jersey Divorce Lawyer with financial background and how that can help your case.

Let us move on to the TAX FILING STATUS

If you are married or divorced on December 31 of that tax year, that is your tax status. For example, you filed for divorce in November of 2014 but are still married as of December 31, 2014, you would still be considered married for tax purposes. However, if you have your divorce judgment on or before December 31 of the tax year, you are divorced and can claim single on your taxes.

So in conclusion, when you are seeking a divorce in New Jersey, have assets, have children, there are more considerations than, just split everything or whatever wrong information people out there will tell you. There is a lot involved in a divorce in New Jersey. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, has strict child support and alimony laws among other things so it is very important in planning your future to hire an experienced and caring attorney who will look out for pitfalls and future problems. The team at the Artusa Law Firm is heavily devoted to family law and divorce issues throughout the State of New Jersey including but not limited to: Hudson County, Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County and Union County. To setup a consultation in our Jersey City office or over the phone, give us a call on 201-706-7910. To read more bout our work, visit: Artusa Law Firm-Divorce Lawyers of Jersey City.

For information about where New Jersey family court and divorce  cases are heard in New Jersey and where our main office is located, please visit our custom map below.

Jersey City Child Support Lawyer

Did You Know You Can Obtain a Divorce in Middlesex Without Going to Court?

You Can Obtain a Divorce In Middlesex County-NJ Without Ever Going to Court. Yes it is True.  Contact the Artusa Law Firm team today to handle it for you.


You can obtain a divorce in Middlesex County without ever appearing in court. If you work with an experienced divorce attorney in New Jersey, we can handle all the papers for you and you will receive your New Jersey Divorce Judgment in the mail or from our office, your choice! If you have not reached an agreement with your spouse and issues remain, we can help you with that too. Contact us on 201-706-7910.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Santo Artusa
New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Santo Artusa Martindale Award for Client Distinction

The Artusa Law Firm handles divorces in Middlesex County, New Jersey and Morris County, New Jersey. Filing for a dissolution of a marriage, AKA a divorce is the same throughout the State of New Jersey. Our practice focuses on family law and divorce Statewide. We have experience representing people in Middlesex County Family Court, Morris County, Hudson County, Essex County, Somerset County, Union County, Bergen County and beyond.

We can handle your case whether it is an uncontested divorce in Middlesex County or an uncontested divorce in Morris County, we can handle it. Whether there is child custody, child support or other issues in contention or there are no issues at all, we can help you get divorced soon. The Artusa Law Firm practices in every county in the State of New Jersey concerning divorce and family law issues. While we are located in Jersey City, we work statewide. Our army of lawyers can help you get a divorce and move forward with your life.

Again, Whether you have children, have an agreement or not, is contested or not, we can help you with our experience in family and divorce law.We also help people who have post-divorce situations and family court motions that need to be addressed. Whether it is child custody case in Edison, a parenting time dispute in Morristown, alimony adjustments in North Brunswick, child support in Iselin, college contributions for Princeton , child relocation, domestic violence, changes in circumstances, order enforcement issues, we know what to do. Contact us today.

Our office is headquartered in Jersey City as many of our clients work or own businesses in Manhattan or other areas of New York City. We provide transportation for new clients that retain our services that live outside of Hudson County. For a consultation with our family law or divorce lawyer, contact us at the Artusa Law Firm today on 201-706-7910, we can help you.

Jersey City Divorce Attorney/Child Support vs. Alimony

As a lawyer who focuses on family law and divorce issues in Jersey City, I speak to individuals about a variety of scenarios with regard to family law cases, as each case is fact specific. Today, I will write about child support and alimony, which is frequently discussed when someone is seeking a divorce or has begun the divorce process.


In Divorce Court, You cannot simply walk in and tell the Judge, “Hey, I want alimony, thank you.” and sit down. If you have a child, you will receive child support and while there are many things to argue about with regard to child support, in the end, the custodial parent will receive child support for the child until the child is emancipated, which is NOT automatically 18 in the State of New Jersey. A child is considered to be emancipated when a court finds that he or she has left the sphere of influence.

On the other hand,  a litigant must show that there is a need for alimony, how much alimony and how long the alimony must be paid for. Now, if you and your spouse agree to a monthly number, that amount can be allocated as you wish because alimony has tax advantages to the payor, while child support does not. Some of the factors used to determine if alimony should be awarded are:

The Length of the Marriage
The Parental Responsibilities of the Custodial Parent
Age of the Parties
Assets available to the Parties
Incomes and/or Potential Incomes
Marital Lifestyle

Furthermore, if you and your spouse, whether through the attorneys or between the two of you, actually agree, a marital settlement agreement will be made and will be part of the final divorce judgment.  If you or a loved one is seeking to move forward with an experienced Jersey City divorce lawyer, contact us today on 201-706-7910 to discuss the situation.



Gwen Stefani Divorce Lesson- Money Does Not Solve All

Which phrase do you believe, More money more problems? Or If money can solve it, it is not a real problem? Gwen Stefani recently settled her divorce case involving more than $120 million in assets and child custody/parenting time issues. According to reports, The parties agreed to have shared custody of their three children and filed the divorce under irreconcilable differences, which has become the most commonly used cause of action in most states in America, including New Jersey. When money cannot solve a problem, when the trust and love is gone, a divorce may be the only way to go for people, even the rich. With the parties reaching an agreement and not having to go to trial where a Judge, who is a stranger to the parties, make critical decisions for the parties and their children. When it is possible, it is best to divorce on terms you can live with and move on. Having a trial is a risky proposition but in some situations it is necessary because one or both parties refuse to listen to their lawyers, mediators and may take counsel from people who have no business giving legal advice. Would you accept a poker lesson from someone that never sat at a poker table? In a divorce, take the advice of professionals or you will be all in without fulling knowing what you are risking.

Jersey City Lawyer for Child Custody and Divorce Cases-What you need to know

Advocating for clients in Jersey City at the Hudson County Superior Court takes: patience, persistence, toughness, respect for others and a positive attitude. Being a Jersey City lawyer who also lives in Jersey City, I understand the people, I understand the Judges and regardless how good someone claims to be, sometimes the facts are strongly against you but you need to make the best of every case you work on and be persistent. Hudson County is home of many small firms and solo offices. Even the “bigger” firms are small and do not have any “wiz kids.” When the time comes that you need to hire an attorney for any reason, whether you have been arrested during a domestic violence dispute, are seeking to file for a divorce, have been served with child custody motion papers, it is critically important to meet with a lawyer as soon as you can. Motions and/or applications for specific relief require an answer within a certain amount of time and that time ticks away very fast. Divorce papers when served properly, require an answer within 35 days or you run the risk of default and a judgment being entered against you. One reason I say you need a positive attitude when in court is because if the matter involves something important, say child custody or parenting time for instance, it is important to come across as caring and at least willing to try and reach a resolution. A person that comes to court expecting everything and not willing to try to work matters out will lead to one certain loser, your child. Despite how much you may currently hate the opposing party or opposing parent, that parent, in most cases, loves your child too and that is the key element in any child custody or divorce case. As a father, I know the most precious time god gave us is the time we have with our children. Abusing that gift by not caring for your kids and or missing parenting time, not paying child support on purpose is terrible. On the other hand, trying to brainwash your children to hate the other parent is just as bad if not worse. My office is dedicated to finding solutions to people’s legal problems, whether its a family court issue, a car accident, a criminal matter and so on. If you or someone you know faces a legal situation, contact us today on 201-706-7910 for a confidential consultation at our Jersey City Office.

DIVORCE LAWYER IN HUDSON COUNTY-Negotiating in Divorce Law in Hudson County and Bergen County New Jersey

Martindale Award for Client Distinction 2015

As a Hudson County Divorce Attorney, I know the following all to well–A divorce in New Jersey does not go to trial unless on of the parties in the divorce action seeks to do so. It only takes one person to ruin a settlement negotiation and force a trial. While this is fine, you must be prepared and must prepare your divorce case as if you will go to trial from the onset. My team at the Artusa Law Firm is ready to try your divorce case regardless of which issues are in contention ranging from: alimony, child custody, parenting time, child support, equitable distribution, domestic violence/restraining order defense, attorneys fees and even the cause of action (adultery, extreme cruelty etc).

From the time I meet with someone in my Jersey City office, I try to understand what that individual’s case goals are, what are their motivating factors, which issues are more critical than others, are they willing to resolve the case without going to trial, are they willing to fight all the way?  The more information I have, the more I can use the tools I have and use the training I received throughout my life. While a divorce is determined in a court room, it is lawyers job to help the Judge visualize how my client’s life is outside of court, how their children are outside of court and how a detrimental order or judgment will affect everyday, real life. A lawyer needs to have the Judge involved in the case and to prevent the Judge from thinking this is just another file with different names, same issues.

A humble wise man once told me, “Negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness.” His name is Curtis Dahl, one of my first mentors and dear friend, who is not an attorney but a business man, father, mentor, uncle, and friend. What does that quote mean to a divorce attorney in Jersey City? Everything. You must be fully prepared to go all the way when negotiating in a family law, divorce law, or criminal law situation.

When Curt told me about negotiating in strength, I was 23 years old, and I had no idea what he was talking about but as time went on, I understood and I apply it daily in my family law litigation practice.


Why would someone negotiate with you if they know you are not prepared or are operating from weakness? They will, but they wont give an inch (if they know what they are doing of course). Preparation is key to excellent representation in any law practice but especially in family law where important matters of parenting time, divorce, child custody and beyond are decided and hard to reverse. By preparing, you are building and strengthening your case, enabling you to negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness.  The great Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” At the Artusa Law Firm we believe that preparing for a case is critical and is one of the reasons why people call us from all over the United States to represent them in their family law cases. For more information about me, visit : Hudson County Jersey City Divorce Lawyer.

If you have a family law issue or divorce in Jersey City, Hudson County or beyond, contact us today on 201-706-7910.