What Are Your Reasons For Filing For a Divorce?
Divorce proceedings in NJ are handled by the Superior Court in the county where the divorce takes place (Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, etc.) yet the procedures and forms required are uniform throughout the state. The process starts by filing a complaint for divorce which informs the court of at least one spouses desire for a divorce. During this process you must indicate the grounds for the divorce (also known as the reason why you want a divorce).
In order for your divorce to be legally recognized by the State of New Jersey you must prepare and file certain legal documents. Your attorney can investigate your circumstances and help determine which options fit your needs best.
There are two types of divorce recognized by New Jersey, No fault divorce and fault based divorce.
NJ No Fault Divorce
New Jersey no fault divorce is where the court ends the marriage based on separation. In order to qualify for a no fault divorce in NJ, the separation can be caused by one of two factors:
- You and your spouse must be living apart (in separate places) for a period of 18+ months prior to filing the divorce complaint.
- You and your spouse cite irreconcilable differences for a period of 6+ months.
One benefit of filing a no fault divorce is that the State of New Jersey does not require either spouse to claim they were responsible for ending the marriage. While no divorce is an easy process, no-fault divorces are typically quicker, less expensive, and as a result less stressful. In cases where there are no children or major financial holdings, no fault divorce is a viable and preferable option as a grounds for divorce.
NJ Fault-Based Divorce
New Jersey legally recognizes 3 common grounds for fault based divorce:
Desertion may be cited as a reason for divorce in situations where one spouse does not want a divorce or dissolution of the marriage.
In order to file for divorce in NJ based on grounds of desertion you must prove the following elements:
- You or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for the 12 consecutive months preceding the filing of the New Jersey divorce complaint.
- Your spouse must have deserted you against your will for 12 months or more.
Extreme cruelty can include general spousal unpleasantness, emotional abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence. The abuse does not have to be physical and can include name calling, belittling a person, controlling behavior or any psychological cruelty.
In order to file for divorce on grounds of extreme cruelty you must meet two basic requirements:
- You and your spouse must have lived in NJ for a period of 12+ consecutive months preceding the divorce complaint.
- The act (or acts) of extreme cruelty must have been committed at least three months before filing the divorce complaint. If the abuse is ongoing or currently taking place at the time of the filing of the divorce you must detail the facts leading up to the ongoing abuse.
3. Other Fault Based Grounds
Other reasons you can file for divorce in NJ include:
- Institutionalized for mental illness
- Deviant Sexual Conduct
Grounds For Divorce Impact on Divorce Proceedings
When filing for a divorce in the State of New Jersey the grounds for divorce that you file under can impact the length and complexity of the proceedings. If you are facing the prospects of a divorce in New Jersey you should speak with an experienced divorce attorney. The circumstances and requirements of each divorce vary on a case by case basis and client by client basis. It is important to seek legal counsel you can trust to help you through this difficult time period.