Understanding the Grounds for New Jersey Divorce
If you are contemplating a New Jersey divorce, you likely have legitimate and understandable questions as to the grounds upon which a marriage dissolution case can be pursued in the Garden State. There are two broad categories for grounds for a New Jersey divorce. These are:
- No-fault grounds
- Fault grounds
The no-fault grounds for New Jersey divorce are the most common. No-fault grounds for divorce mean that neither party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Some type of fault need not be alleged in order to pursue this type of New Jersey marriage dissolution case. The two types of no-fault grounds for New Jersey divorce are:
- Irreconcilable differences
- Living apart for at least 18 months
The first no-fault ground for divorce in New Jersey is irreconcilable differences. This means that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and there is no chance of reconciliation. This is a no-fault ground because neither party is blamed for the breakdown of the marriage. Irreconcilable differences can include a variety of issues. These might include such issues like financial problems, disagreements about child-rearing, or simply growing apart over time.Living Apart for at Least 18 Months
The second no-fault ground for divorce in New Jersey is living apart for at least 18 months. This means that the couple has lived apart for at least 18 months and there is no chance of reconciliation. This ground for divorce is also a no-fault ground, as it does not assign blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Living apart can be due to a variety of reasons, such as work obligations, military deployment, or simply a decision to separate.Fault Grounds for Divorce
In addition to no-fault grounds, there are also fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey. These grounds require one party to be at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. The following are the fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey:
- Extreme cruelty
- Deviant sexual conduct
Adultery as a ground for divorce means that one spouse has cheated on the other. Adultery can be difficult to prove.Extreme Cruelty
Extreme cruelty in a New Jersey divorce means that one spouse has subjected the other to physical or mental cruelty. Extreme cruelty can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, or a pattern of behavior that is intended to intimidate or control the other spouse.Desertion
Desertion means that one spouse has abandoned the other for at least 12 months. Desertion can occur when one spouse leaves the marital home without the intention of returning, or when one spouse refuses to engage in sexual relations with the other spouse.Imprisonment
In New Jersey, imprisonment as a grounds for marriage dissolution means that one spouse has been sentenced to prison for at least 18 months. Imprisonment can be a ground for divorce because it can be a significant disruption to the marriage and can make it difficult for the non-incarcerated spouse to maintain the relationship.Deviant Sexual Conduct
Deviant sexual conduct is yet another reason upon which a fault divorce grounds for divorce in New Jersey. This means that one spouse has engaged in deviant sexual conduct without the other's consent. Deviant sexual conduct can include a variety of behaviors, such as bestiality or incest, and can be difficult to prove.
It is necessary to appreciate that fault grounds can be difficult to prove and may require evidence such as witnesses or documentation. Additionally, choosing fault grounds can lead to a more contentious divorce process, as the parties may be more likely to disagree on issues such as property division or child custody. More often than not, an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer is apt to recommend that a person interested in pursuing a marriage dissolution case pursue a no-fault divorce.
Ultimately, the grounds underpinning a divorce case in New Jersey will depend on the specific facts and circumstances associated with an individual case. A dedicated, experienced New Jersey divorce attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. If you want a free consultation concerning a divorce call (201) 845-7400.