As today’s society has become more accepting of divorce, many couples choose to end their unhappy unions. When you decide to end your marriage, you will face various decisions regarding the terms that will apply to the termination of your marriage. However, the first step to commence the divorce process is to file divorce papers. Through the “Complaint for Divorce,” you will be required to stipulate the grounds or reasoning for the dissolution of the marriage. The grounds you cite can significantly impact the outcome of your divorce. Therefore, it’s imperative to declare the grounds for divorce carefully. Please continue reading to learn about the different fault grounds you can cite for divorce in New Jersey and how our seasoned Monmouth County Divorce & Separation Attorneys can help you determine the best divorce route for your marital situation.
What are common grounds for divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey allows both “no-fault” and “fault” based divorces. When you file for a fault-based divorce, you must prove that your spouse’s misconduct caused the end of your marriage. Essentially, you must prove that they are to blame for the cause of the divorce. However, that’s not necessary with a no-fault divorce. If you file for a no-fault divorce, you do not need to prove any fault grounds. Instead, you can cite irreconcilable differences, which means you and your spouse can no longer get along, and your differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage for at least six months. With irreconcilable differences, neither spouse is to blame for the cause of the divorce. In addition, if you file for a no-fault divorce, you can cite separation. If you and your spouse have lived apart for at least 18 consecutive months, and there’s no hope that you can reconcile your differences, you can cite separation as grounds for a no-fault divorce.
Moreover, when filing for a fault-based divorce, you may only cite an acceptable reason provided by the state for ending the union. In New Jersey, you have the option of filing for divorce based on any of the following types of misconduct:
- Desertion for at least 12 months or more
- Extremely cruel or abusive treatment (acts of physical and mental abuse that happened at least three months before filing for divorce)
- Habitual intoxication
- Drug addiction
- Imprisonment for at least 18 consecutive months during your marriage
- Deviant sexual conduct
- Institutionalization for mental illness
It’s imperative to note that although mental illness is not considered misconduct, you can still cite it as a fault-based ground as long as your spouse was institutionalized for at least two consecutive years before filing for a divorce. If you decide to pursue a fault-based divorce, you must demonstrate in court that your spouse was engaged in the misconduct you declared in your Complaint for Divorce and that their behavior was why the marriage ended.
If you’re considering filing for a fault-based divorce, contact an adept attorney from the legal team at Paone Zaleski & Murphy, who can help you evaluate your situation and determine whether you would benefit from pursuing this type of divorce.