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Understanding New Jersey Divorce Residency Requirements

Every state in the U.S.A. has its own set of legal requirements to file for divorce. Among these legal requirements are terms of residency before a divorce case can be filed. Some states have what might fairly be called rather strict residency requirements to pursue a marriage dissolution case. Other states have what are classified as rather lax residence requirements in order to file a divorce case. New Jersey divorce residency requirements are what some might call “in the middle” between strict and relaxed.

Basic New Jersey Divorce Residency Requirements

Residency requirements for a New Jersey divorce are fairly cut and dry. In order to file for a New Jersey divorce at least one of the spouses needs to have been a bona fide or actual resident of the state for a period of one year or longer. New Jersey does not require both parties to a divorce to be residents of the state, however.

If a divorce is filed prior to the point in time that at least one spouse has lived in New Jersey for a year or more, the case will be dismissed. The residency requirement is what legally is known as a “jurisdictional issue.” In other words, a court does not have jurisdiction over a divorce case unless one of the spouses has been a New Jersey resident for the minimum amount of time referenced a moment ago.

It is important to note that the one year of residency in the state must be during the time immediately before a divorce case is filed. The fact that a party to a divorce may have lived in New Jersey at some point in time in the past – but not within the immediate period before filing a marriage dissolution case – does not count when computing the one-year residency requirement.

Exception to Standard New Jersey Divorce Residency Requirements

New Jersey law carves out one exception to the one-year residency rule. If you are proceeding with a fault divorce on the grounds of adultery, a person need not be a resident of the state of New Jersey for one year. A party need only be a bona fide resident of the state of New Jersey, even if that residency has been in place for a period of time less than one year.

Can Anything be Done to Further a Marriage Termination During a Waiting Period?

If you have made a firm decision to seek a divorce, you may wonder whether anything can be done to further the process during the “waiting period” if you or your spouse have not been a resident of the state of New Jersey for a period of one year or more. The fact is that in some situations the waiting period before filing for divorce can be put to “good use.”

For example, if you and your spouse have a fairly civil relationship, you conceivably can begin the process of attempting to reach a settlement of the issues that exist between you that will be the subject of a divorce case. The law does not prohibit you from taking steps such as these as you await the time when you can formally move ahead with divorce proceedings.

As a word of caution, if you intend to begin negotiating a settlement of your divorce case prior to filing a New Jersey marriage dissolution case, you are wise to retain the services of a skilled, experienced lawyer as part of that process.

Protect Your Legal Rights in a New Jersey Divorce Case

If you have made the decision to file for divorce, or if you have been served with divorce papers, you are wise to protect your legal interests as fully as possible by retaining the services of an experienced, skillful New Jersey divorce attorney. You can connect with a New Jersey divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen.

You can schedule an initial consultation with a New Jersey divorce lawyer by calling (201) 845-7400 at a time that is convenient for you.

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