In matrimonial law, there can be an obstacle course of issues.

Going through a divorce can be a remarkably stressful and confusing experience. New Jersey divorce law is very complex, adding to the already high levels of emotional trauma you could be going through. At Keith Family Law, we do whatever we can to help guide our clients through the entire divorce process, from a period of separation to the time when the divorce is finalized. Over 95% of all divorce cases in New Jersey are settled privately.

Learn More

What Is The Difference Between Separation And Divorce?

Many people use the terms “divorce” and “separation” interchangeably, even though they are legally quite different.

Learn More

There is no such thing as a state of legal separation in New Jersey. Spouses are free to separate without a Complaint to court, live apart, and develop a plan to take care of equitable distribution, child custody, child support, and other divorce-related issues.

That said, this plan would not be a legally enforceable separation agreement. You would still be legally married to your spouse with all of the obligations involved, including sharing debt and other financial considerations, while also being unable to legally marry someone else.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

What Are Our Divorce Options?

If you want a “legal separation” in New Jersey, then your best bet is Divorce from Bed and Board.

Learn More

This legal arrangement does not dissolve the bonds of matrimony. You will still be legally entangled in many ways, such as potentially being able to continue to carry health insurance for legal spouses. Although many of the benefits of marriage will continue, spouses will almost always divide their assets and liabilities, provide for alimony, child custody, child support, and plan parenting time as they would in an Absolute Divorce. At any time, either spouse can make an application to the court for an Absolute Divorce, with the settlement terms under your Divorce from Bed and Board staying in place unless you and your spouse agree otherwise.

A divorce (also called Absolute Divorce) has legal ramifications that a Divorce from Bed and Board does not. When you are divorced, your spouse can no longer carry health insurance for you. You no longer accumulate benefits on your spouse’s earnings record for Social Security. Your spouse can change beneficiaries on their life insurances and retirement assets without your knowledge. There are many other benefits to marriage that a divorce will terminate.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

What’s Next?

The first step towards divorce in New Jersey is for one spouse to prepare a Complaint for Divorce.

Learn More

As filing this Complaint with the court can impact your ability to negotiate freely with your spouse without court interference in mediation or collaborative practice, we suggest waiting until those options have been explored.

You can file for an uncontested divorce (if a marital settlement agreement has been signed), a contested divorce, or look for an alternative method of resolution. Divorce and separation in New Jersey can be a very technical process, but you have many options that you can use to your advantage. There are many privately negotiated agreements that can be made using a number of methods outside of the courtroom. These can include divorce negotiation, mediation, or the Collaborative Law process. A collaboratively trained attorney can help you work together through collaborative practice to find an ideal separation agreement and help you both move forward into the future.

If you have questions regarding your specific divorce or separation issue, or any other areas of divorce and family law, please feel free to call us for a consult. We will provide you with individualized legal counsel with one of our family lawyers.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Amicable Divorce

Working Together For A Better Outcome

How Do I Know If Amicable Divorce Is An Option?

If you and your spouse can effectively communicate, “get along,” or share priorities in the divorce process, an amicable divorce could be your best option.

Learn More

If the marriage is over but there is still a high level of trust in the relationship, the path forward may be much more cooperative in nature. Our firm will always advocate for your best interests, but an amicable divorce allows you to move forward in a manner where both you and your spouse work together in a way so that each of your interests are considered and both treated fairly.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

What Are The Benefits Of Pursuing Divorce Amicably?

One of the greatest advantages of an amicable divorce is the fact that you and your spouse can keep control of the divorce process.

Learn More

Although there are often bumps in the road, it’s not nearly as expensive or taxing as “going to court.”

Once a divorce case is in court, your divorce process is placed entirely on the timeline of the court. It’s often more expensive, frustrating, and risky as the outcomes are somewhat out of your control.

If you are embroiled in litigation, the words of you and your ex-spouse may be twisted. More, lawyers may make strategic moves that you believed your ex-spouse would never make in terms of finances, parenting time, accusations, and a myriad of other ways.

An amicable divorce can set a smoother path that can set you and your ex-spouse up for a brighter, more collaborative future.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Collaborative Divorce

Synergetic, Respectful, Beneficial, Mutual, Child-centered

What Is A Collaborative Divorce?

The New Jersey Family Law Act now recognizes Collaborative Practice.

Learn More

The New Jersey Family Law Act now recognizes Collaborative Practice, giving you a new divorce method with strategies to dissolve your marriage together in a collaborative way. Collaboratively trained attorneys and their clients can meet with collaboratively trained mental health/child specialists and financial neutrals in a process that has been proven to reduce conflict, preserve families, and promote lasting marital settlement agreements.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

What Makes Collaborative Practice Different?

One of the greatest advantages of an amicable divorce is the fact that you and your spouse can keep control of the divorce process.

Learn More

One of the best things about collaborative practice is that it is a private process, done far away from the courts, that can still result in a complete and legal Settlement Agreement. You and your spouse will set the agenda and the pace of the process. You will have access to mental health and child support services that will help keep emotions at a minimum to address your child support and child custody issues and concerns. Your financial neutral will help you develop budgets and address the multitude of complex financial issues that can emerge during a divorce.

During the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse will have your own separate attorneys, while the mental health and financial neutrals will serve both individuals. Best of all, with your settlement agreement already completed, any court time will be minimal! It’s usually only a 15-minute hearing to finalize your uncontested divorce.

Heather C. Keith, Esq. is an attorney trained in Collaborative Practice. If you have any questions about collaborative practice, what it means to work with a collaboratively trained lawyer, or any other areas of concern involving divorce and family law, please feel free to call Keith Family Law for a legal consult. Through collaborative law, you and your spouse will be able to work together and find resolutions to the tough emotional, financial, and family issues that can come up during a divorce.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Litigation

Taking your divorce to court is tough, but you’ve got a champion on your side

What Is Divorce Litigation And When Is It Necessary?

Because divorce is an emotional and complex process, there are times when the parties involved fail to reach an agreement.

Learn More

Divorce litigation is the legal process of dispute resolution for contested divorces in the family court system.

Divorce litigation typically becomes necessary when there is difficulty among divorcing parties to reach an agreement through an amicable process, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Unreasonable expectations with regard to settlement terms, cases of domestic violence, and unique issues that fall outside the scope of more typical divorce proceedings may also signal the need to take your divorce to court.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

What Can I Expect With Divorce Litigation?

A contested divorce bound for litigation is, by its nature, a conflictual process.

Learn More

Drawn out court schedules, perpetual arguments, appealed decisions, and other factors all contribute to the stress and expense of litigation. Generally speaking, the more conflict that exists between parties involved in a divorce, the longer and more expensive the process will be.

The process of divorce litigation in New Jersey is made up of a series of steps that generally adhere to both court timelines and current laws.

During the initial stage, a divorce Complaint is prepared and filed by your attorney to the court. The Complaint is then served on your spouse, after which your spouse’s attorney prepares and files an Answer. Following the Complaint/Answer period, attorneys attend a Case Management Conference with the judge, where parties involved have an opportunity to agree to the terms or, failing that, receive court-ordered dates relative to the litigation proceedings. If child custody and/or support issues are involved with the case, parents are required to attend a parent’s education program and subsequent parent coordination meetings.

The next stage in divorce litigation in New Jersey is Discovery. During Discovery, case information statements are submitted to the court, Interrogatories and Notices for Demand of Documents are prepared and submitted then subsequently answered, third-pary documents are subpoenaed, depositions are conducted, and expert analyses are solicited and reviewed. A second Case Management Conference is also conducted with the judge and attorneys.

The final stage of litigation is the Settlement phase. Settlement begins with an Early Settlement Panel and the deployment of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as court-required mediation. If the resolution is deemed possible, alternative dispute resolution will continue until a settlement is reached and a trial will be avoided. If a settlement is not reached, your attorneys will prepare for trial before a judge, where testimony and evidence will be weighed and a decision ultimately made by the judge.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

What’s Next?

The first step of the divorce process in New Jersey is for one spouse to prepare a Complaint for Divorce with their divorce attorney.

Learn More

As filing this Complaint with the court can impact your ability to negotiate freely with your spouse without court interference in mediation or collaborative practice, we suggest waiting until those options have been explored with your attorney.

At Keith Family Law, our attorneys are experienced in all manners of family law and can guide you through the divorce process in such a manner as to benefit you the most. Our mission is to be a commanding, results-driven advocate on your behalf. We understand the complexities involved and the emotional toll of a divorce on you and your family.

If you have questions regarding your specific divorce or separation issue or any other areas of divorce and family law, please feel free to call us for a consultation. We will provide you with individualized legal counsel with one of our experienced family lawyers.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Mediation

Cost-effective, self-paced, self-directed resolution with skilled and experienced help.

What Are The Steps Of Mediation?

Before entering into mediation, be sure to consult a mediation-friendly review attorney so you have all of the information you need to move forward.

Learn More

This ensures that you will have a consultant throughout the process to touch base with if you have questions or any problems occur. Your attorney may also accompany you to the mediation sessions. Keith Family Law’s experienced mediation-friendly review attorneys are here to help you through the process.

Next, you want a skilled mediator to help you mutually devise a settlement that you and your divorcing spouse can live with. Keith Family Law’s experienced mediators can get you there.

Once a mediator gets you almost to the finish line, it’s time for a review attorney to take over. A review attorney should fairly and competently fold all of your hard work, generally called a “Memorandum of Understanding,” into a complete and legally enforceable Marital Settlement Agreement. If the MOU comes back with significant flaws, it will be necessary to contact your attorney to sort them out through a renegotiation of the terms.

After you have your “Marital Settlement Agreement,” you will need a skilled attorney to get you in and out of court for your uncontested Divorce, and on your way to your new life!

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Where Can I Go For Mediation?

When you look for a divorce mediator, you need someone who is experienced at helping couples strike the right balance to negotiate something that both sides can agree to.

Learn More

At Keith Family Law, we offer mediation and mediation support. Heather C. Keith is a member of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators and can offer you the mediation and mediation support that you need to navigate your separation together in a productive and cooperative way.

We at Keith Family Law are also preferred review attorneys for many of Westfield, New Jersey’s most respected mediators, and for good reason. Our attorneys will quickly and thoroughly assess your settlement agreement to confirm that your interests are completely protected. Once you are comfortable with your settlement, we will get you into court for your Divorce without delay or any hidden costs.

Your Marital Settlement Agreement is one of the most important documents in your life. You need skilled counsel to be sure that it is a fair agreement you can live with. If you have questions about mediation, settlement agreements, or any other areas of divorce and family law, please feel free to call Keith Family Law for a legal consult. We will provide you with individualized legal counsel with one of our family lawyers. We are dedicated to alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative practice, and believe in supporting couples in making their own informed decisions.

Keith Family Law is a full-service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Testimonials

“I’ll put it simply – I could go on and on about how great she was
and how important the efforts and professionalism of a divorce attorney are, but truthfully,
I couldn’t have had a better person working for me.”

Michael

"I felt that my Keith Family Law ALWAYS HAD MY BACK!!!"

Annette Beshar

“Not only did Ms. Keith help me resolve my case (in my favor) but she also helped me understand what I needed to do for myself and for my child to keep our lives moving forward in a positive direction. I would highly recommend Ms. Keith to anyone!”

Kat

"Heather is the absolute best. She helped me navigate a very painful divorce process with professionalism and patience."

Elizabeth Graner