Causes Of Action For Divorce In New Jersey

By Peter Van Aulen, Esq.

No-Fault Divorce

In 2007 New Jersey enacted into law a no-fault divorce statute. Before said law was passed if a person wanted to be divorced they either had to be separated for 18 months or have cause. Now you do not have to have cause or be separated for any period of time in order to file for divorce in NJ. Your New Jersey divorce lawyer can base it on irreconcilable differences which is a no-fault divorce. The requirements based on irreconcilable differences are as follows:

  • There must be irreconcilable differences which cause a break down of the marriage for a period of six months.
  • It appears that the marriage should be dissolved.
  • There is no reasonable chance for reconciliation.
Divorce Bases On Fault

An advantage of filing a divorce in NJ based on irreconcilable differences is that in your complaint you do not have to specify the differences between you and your spouse. You just have to state that there are differences. Also, there is no required period that you have to be separated. Therefore, you do not have to do a character assassination of your spouse and then your spouse may not feel compelled to do a character assassination of you in their counterclaim. However, under New Jersey divorce statute you still have the right to file for based on cause. Yet, it is important to note that under New Jersey law in most circumstances filing for divorce based cause or in other words demonstrating that the other party is at fault for causing the divorce will not affect the division of assets, or the determination of alimony and child support. Also, unless the fault involves or affects your child (e.g., a spouse commits an act of Domestic Violence in front of child or the spouse is drunk in front of the child) it will not have an impact on child custody. The following are the fault grounds for divorce:

  1. Adultery.
  2. Willful and constant desertion for the term of 12 or more months.
  3. Extreme Cruelty: physical or mental cruelty that endangers the safety or health of the plaintiff or makes it unreasonable for the plaintiff to continue to cohabit with their spouse. The last act of extreme cruelty must have occurred at least three months before filing the complaint.
  4. Eighteen month uninterrupted separation in two different habitations and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the parties.
  5. Voluntarily induced addiction or habituation to any narcotic drug or habitual drunkenness for a period of twelve months.
  6. Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of twenty four or more consecutive months before filing of the complaint.
  7. Imprisonment of a spouse for 18 or more consecutive months.
  8. Deviant sexual conduct voluntarily performed by a spouse without the consent of the other spouse.
Conclusion

Also, it important to note that in filing for a divorce in NJ whether it is based on cause or irreconcilable differences you must have been residing in the state of New Jersey for at least one year before filing unless you are using adultery as your cause of action. If you are pleading adultery you can file for divorce despite the fact you have not been residing in New Jersey for a year. Divorce can be complex. The results could affect you and your children for years and even indefinitely. This is why it is so important to receive the best possible advice and representation from an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer. Peter Van Aulen offers a free consultation. Call (201) 845-7400 today.

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*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances