No-Fault and At-Fault Divorce in New Jersey

How No-Fault Divorce Works in New Jersey

no-fault-and-at-fault-divorce-in-new-jerseyThough every state allows some form of “no-fault” divorce, there are 17 states where it’s the only basis for terminating a marriage. In 33 states, including New Jersey, a no-fault divorce is one of the options available to parties seeking to dissolve a marriage.

New Jersey Allows Both No-Fault and Fault Divorces

When you file a complaint for divorce in New Jersey, you must provide a reason why the bonds of marriage have been broken. Under the law, the reasons stated are considered to be the “grounds” for divorce. Those grounds are generally considered to indicate one of two things:

  • Neither party was expressly responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. When this is the case, the parties typically cite “irreconcilable differences” as the basis for divorce. Parties who allege irreconcilable differences must state that such differences have been there for at least six months.
  • One of the parties engaged in specific conduct that made it difficult or impossible for the other party to stay in the marriage. Such a proceeding will generally be referred to as an “at-fault” or “fault-based” divorce. In a fault-based divorce action, the party alleging fault must provide testimony or other evidence of wrongdoing.

What Are the Common Grounds for a Fault-Based Divorce in New Jersey?

New Jersey law allows a party to a divorce to allege one or more of the following causes for the breakdown of marital bonds in an at-fault proceeding:

  • Marital infidelity or adultery
  • Sexual behavior considered deviant by a reasonable person
  • Maintenance of separate residences for at least 18 months
  • Physical or sexual abandonment (desertion) for a period of one year
  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol for at least one year without actively seeking treatment
  • Extreme cruelty, such as physical or emotional abuse

Why Would You Choose an At-Fault Divorce Over a No-Fault Divorce?

People who can prove that the other spouse engaged in wrongful or harmful behavior may have an advantage in a custody or parenting time dispute. Wrongful behavior does not help in financial issues.

Most divorcing people in NJ choose to file on irreconcilable differences grounds, but it’s an individual decision.

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

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