When your marriage is falling apart, nearly everything your spouse does is bound to seem like a valid reason for getting a divorce. However, the state of New Jersey requires that you choose one of nine specific grounds for divorce as you file your paperwork.
No Fault Divorce in NJ
The most common reasons for divorce are the two “no fault” grounds of Separation and Irreconcilable Differences. By choosing one of these no fault grounds for divorce you and your spouse both agree to end the marriage amicably.
If filing for divorce based on separation, you must prove that you and your spouse have lived apart for at least 18 months before filing the Complaint for Divorce. If using irreconcilable differences as your reason, there is no waiting period, but you must each claim that your marriage has been suffering for at least 6 months and there is no hope of reconciliation.
At Fault Divorce in NJ
There are seven acceptable at-fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey. Each carries with it a different waiting period and justification requirement, so be sure to have all of your information together before you file.
If your spouse has cheated on you, you may file using Adultery as your ground for divorce. You must be able to prove that your spouse had both the opportunity and inclination to cheat. There is no waiting period to file for divorce based on Adultery.
If your spouse left you, you may file for divorce based on Abandonment or Desertion. This means you have been left without reason for 12 months or more before you can file. You must prove that your spouse has left your home for the entirety of the 12 months consecutively to file for divorce based on claim of abandonment.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol is another acceptable at-fault ground for divorce in New Jersey. You must attest to your spouse being habitually drunk or under the influence of drugs for twelve months or longer.
If you have been mistreated in the bedroom, you may claim Deviant Sexual Conduct as your legal ground for divorce. Any deviant sexual act performed on you by your spouse without your consent qualifies for this ground for divorce, however, be aware that it can be tough to prove in court.
Extreme Cruelty as a ground for divorce refers to either verbal or physical abuse toward you by your spouse. If you are initiating the divorce process, you must wait at least three months from the act of cruelty before filing your Complain for Divorce. However, there is no waiting period to use Extreme Cruelty in a counter-claim against your spouse if they filed for divorce first.
If your spouse has been in prison for 18 months or longer, you can use Imprisonment as your legal ground for divorce in New Jersey. If his/her jail sentence was less than 18 months, you must prove that you were separated before or after the sentence so the time apart totals 18 months combined.
Institutionalization is also a legally accepted ground for divorce in New Jersey. You may use this claim if your spouse was institutionalized for mental illness for at least 24 months in a row after the beginning of your marriage.
Contact our our experienced divorce attorneys in NJ for a free consultation on your case.