Divorce is a long and arduous process no matter what. Many people who have been through it start counting down the days, weeks and months ahead of time.
New Jersey courts are particularly backlogged right now. Read below to learn about some of the reasons why, and estimate when you can expect a judge to sign your final decree.
Too many cases and not enough judges
This simple but maddening scarcity problem affects people in their daily lives. NJ.com reported in September 2022 that out of 463 trial court seats, 64 positions are unfilled. Support staff shortages have also become increasingly common in the last 2.5 years since the pandemic began.
Political appointment takes time
Further complicating matters is that the governor must nominate each judge, after which the state Senate must debate and confirm the nominees. Some senators can reject a nominee without offering a reason, which starts the whole process over.
Expect to wait anywhere from six to eighteen months
From the first moment you file the papers until the ink is dry on the final decree, you may wait a year or more, depending on your case’s complexity. The process will take longer with children, if your finances are complex or if you or your spouse plan to live outside of New Jersey. Be patient and trust that the process will unfold as quickly as it can. Accelerate the process by trying to secure pre-existing written agreements between you and your ex to reduce the time spent arguing in front of a judge.