July 18, 2024

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A Look at the New Jersey Superior Court – Family Part/Divorce Court Process in Hudson County

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A Look at the New Jersey Superior Court – Family Part/Divorce Court Process in Hudson County

As a Divorce attorney in New Jersey, I have seen many things happen in the courtroom and around the courthouse. Sometimes the court is so civilized and orderly, other times, it seems like the Jerry Springer Show is taping live in the courtroom. This article focuses on the Hudson County Vicinage located at 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ.

Divorce Cases in Hudson County, New Jersey

While each county’s court must abide to the New Jersey rules of court, each county has its own approach. Today’s article focuses on the Hudson County Family Court.

The Presiding Judge of the family part is Judge Maureen Sogluizzo. Judge Sogluizzo manages the family part bench and also manages a heavy matrimonial/divorce case load. The Judge is impartial and does not tolerate parental alienation and she has a great respect for people in the Armed Forces. Through her leadership, one very important program during the divorce litigation is the expansion of the Early Settlement Panel which gives people who have lawyers a great chance to settle their cases without going through the expense and stress of a trial.

Judge Daniel D’Alessandro

The next Judge, Judge D’Alessandro is a life-long Jersey City and Hudson County resident. He owned his own law practice on Kennedy Blvd in Jersey City, NJ for many years before being appointed a Superior Court Judge in the Hudson Vicinage. Judge D’Alessandro is a very calm judge that rarely if ever raises his voice and is someone who takes his time in making decisions. The Judge focuses his calendar primarily on divorce cases, child custody and post-divorce motions

Judge Maureen Mantineo

Judge Mantineo is the former presiding judge of the family division until she left to work on civil cases for a brief period. She is warmly welcomed back by the bench and the bar. Judge Mantineo is someone that is focused, works very hard and is easily liked and will like you if you are truthful. Judge Mantineo values the relationship between both mother and child and father and child despite the issues the parents may be having.

Quick Synopsis of Timeline for Contested Divorces in New Jersey

  • Divorce is filed and served on the opposing party
  • The opposing party files an answer or appearance
  • A Case Management Conference is conducted where the attorneys lay out the disputed issues to the judge and the amount of time they need to conduct what is called discovery.
  • Discovery Begins- Each side has the right to request information from the other party depending on the issues in dispute. Examples of items requested or demanded are: bank statements, tax returns, retirement asset statements, debt statements, employment records, loan documents and beyond.
  • Once discovery ends or is close to over, the parties attend the Early Settlement Panel (ESP) at the local Superior Courthouse where each side submits their positions to panelists who will render a non-binding opinion of the case and how it should settle.
  • After the ESP, the parties go before the Judge and explain if the matter is settled and if not, they must choose an economic mediator to try and settle it there one last time. A trial date may be given at this post ESP conference.
  • If the parties do not settle all issues, the issues that remain will be tried before the Judge to decide. Family Court trials are trials by Judge not by Jury.
  • Decision is rendered. The parties have 45 days to appeal.

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