The Legal Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey


Like all other states, New Jersey allows you to file for a “no-fault” divorce. Under the concept of a no-fault divorce, there’s no need to identify any cause of the marital breakdown, other than to state that there are “irreconcilable differences.” You can, however, file an “at fault” divorce, where the court makes a determination as to who brought about the dissolution of the marriage. Attributing fault can give you an advantage in the divorce proceedings, leading to a more favorable custody ruling or a better marital property settlement.

To obtain an “at fault” divorce in New Jersey, you must state legal grounds for the divorce. In New Jersey, proof of the following may be sufficient to allow the court to grant a divorce for cause:

  • You and your spouse have maintained separate residences for at least 18 months (technically, this is considered “no-fault”)
  • Your spouse forced you to participate in a “deviant sexual act”—unfortunately, the law is not very clear as to what qualifies as “deviant”
  • One spouse had an extra-marital affair
  • Your spouse has left the marital home and has been gone for at least 12 months
  • Your spouse has a substance abuse problem—drugs or alcohol—which has persisted for more than 12 months
  • Your spouse subjected you to a level of physical abuse and/or mental cruelty that made it unbearable to live with him or her. You may also seek an at-fault divorce if your spouse has endangered your life in any way.
  • Your spouse has been institutionalized for a mental health problem for a minimum of 24 months consecutively after you were married and before you filed for divorce
  • Your spouse has been incarcerated or has been sentenced to a term of 18 months or more after the date of your marriage.

Contact Attorney 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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