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Residency Requirement

In order for a court to decide a case, that court must have jurisdiction, or the legal authority to do so. The jurisdiction for a divorce in NJ case is based on the residency of the spouses. In New Jersey in particular, the residency requirement must be met in order for a court to accept any divorce filings. If you have any questions about jurisdiction in a New Jersey divorce you should speak with a NJ divorce lawyer.

New Jersey Residency Requirement

In order to meet the residency requirement and be eligible for a divorce in New Jersey, either spouse must have been a bona fide resident of New Jersey for at least one year prior to the filing of the action.

Exception for Adultery

An exception is made for cases of adultery, where the one-year requirement is waived. In that case, jurisdiction exists when a spouse has committed adultery and at least one spouse lives in the State of New Jersey.

Establishing Residency

In many cases the spouses have lived in New Jersey for many years, so jurisdiction is not an issue. In order to establish jurisdiction and meet the residency requirement, the spouse filing for divorce in NJ will state in their documents that they meet the requirement. This sworn statement is your proof of residency.

If jurisdiction becomes an issue in a divorce in NJ, other forms of proof of residency might be necessary, including a New Jersey driver’s license, a bank account in the state, voter registration, and proof of owning property in the state.


A separate but related issue to jurisdiction is venue. While jurisdiction covers whether you can file for divorce in New Jersey, venue covers which New Jersey court you will need to file in. In general the proper venue will be the first option listed below, but given that divorcing spouses often move out of the marital home, venue can be tricky so it is best to review the other options. The term ‘domicile’ for purposes of these options means where you permanently live.

  1. The county in which the spouse filing for divorce is domiciled when the cause of action arose, or
  2. If the spouse filing for divorce is not domiciled in New Jersey when the cause of action arose, then the venue will be the county in which the other spouse is domiciled when the cause of action arose, or
  3. If neither spouse was domiciled in New Jersey when the cause of action arose, then in the county in which the filing spouse is domiciled when the action is commenced, or
  4. If the filing spouse is not domiciled in New Jersey, then in the county where defendant is domiciled when service of process is made

If you are seeking a divorce and wish to do so in New Jersey, call Peter Van Aulen a NJ divorce lawyer at 201-845-7400 for a free initial consultation to discuss if your case meets the New Jersey residency requirement.


N.J.S.A. 2A:34-10 Jurisdiction in divorce proceedings

Rule 5:7-1 Divorce, Nullity, Separate Maintenance - Venue

Client Reviews
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

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