Her Fault, His Fault or No-Fault? What are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey and Which Should You Choose?
If you decide to file for divorce in New Jersey, you must state in the New Jersey Divorce Complaint the reasons (or grounds) for the divorce.
New Jersey divorce grounds fall under two categories: those which are based on “fault” and those which are based on “no fault.”
Until 2007, before you could file a “no-fault” New Jersey Divorce Complaint, you had to first separate from your spouse for at least 18 consecutive months.
However, in 2007, the New Jersey Legislature amended the New Jersey Divorce Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2, to also allow a New Jersey “no fault” divorce based on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” That ground does not require that the parties even be separated when the New Jersey Divorce Complaint is filed. It simply requires you and your spouse to have experienced “irreconcilable differences” for six months and that there be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
The New Jersey “fault” grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion, deviant sexual conduct, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness or addiction, imprisonment or institutionalization.
The overwhelming majority of all New Jersey Divorce Complaints are now based on the “no-fault” grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” Why?
First, if you choose to assert one of the “fault” grounds in your New Jersey Divorce Complaint, you may need to provide proof of those grounds, which can exact both an emotional and financial toll on both parties.
Second, surprisingly to some people, under New Jersey divorce law “fault” is totally irrelevant to the division of your marital assets and debts (called “equitable distribution”), and “fault” is almost never relevant to the determination of whether you or your spouse is entitled to alimony.
Nevertheless, there are some circumstances under which it may be appropriate to assert “fault” grounds in a New Jersey Divorce Complaint. Experienced New Jersey Divorce attorneys, such as those at Salvaggio Law Group LLC, can help you make that determination.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey Divorce and Family Law matters, including issues relating to filing for divorce.
If you want to talk, please call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on our website.