Before spouses must settle disputes such as child custody, division of assets, alimony, child support, and so on, they must first begin the divorce process by filing for divorce. All divorces in New Jersey must cite reasons or grounds for divorce. These grounds for divorce are vastly different, and can have different benefits and detriments depending on your unique situation. As long as the grounds for your divorce can be proven, your divorce should be granted by the courts.
Today, our divorce and family law attorneys will identify the legal grounds for divorce in New Jersey as discuss the differences between no fault and fault divorce.
Morris County, NJ Grounds for Divorce Lawyers Define No Fault Divorce
New Jersey is a no fault divorce state, meaning that it is not required to "fault" your spouse for wrongful actions which led to a divorce. No fault divorces are more common in our state due primarily to the fact that they require less proof and do not entail blaming another person for your relationship coming to an end. There are two grounds for divorce which may be used for no fault divorce:
Irreconcilable differences lasting for six (6) or more months which have led to the marriage breaking down. These differences must have led to a situation where the marriage was no longer tenable and neither spouse believes that the differences can be resolved.
Legal separation for a minimum of 18 consecutive months. Separation must entail the spouses living in separate residences for the entirety of that 18 month period. This separation comes with a legal presumption that the differences leading to separation cannot reasonably be expected to be resolved.
Mendham Fault Divorce Attorneys Discuss Grounds for Divorce
Unlike no fault divorce, fault divorce requires the spouse filing for divorce to prove that their partner acted wrongfully which led to divorce. Pursuant to New Jersey Statutes Section 2A:34-2 - causes for divorce from bond of matrimony, the following are grounds for fault divorce:
- Desertion which was both willful and continuous for a minimum of 12 consecutive months. This is similar to legal separation with the primary difference the fact that with desertion, the couple did not agree to separate
- Substance abuse which may include addiction to alcohol, narcotics, or other dangerous controlled substances for a minimum of 12 consecutive months
- Institutionalization for mental illness for a minimum of 24 consecutive months
- Imprisonment for 18 or more consecutive months during the marriage. In order to use imprisonment as a grounds for divorce, the defendant must not have moved back in with the spouse filing for divorce after their incarceration
- Deviant sexual conduct performed by the offending spouse without permission of his or her spouse
- Extreme cruelty as defined by any actions which can be construed as physically or mentally cruel or as endangering the safety or wellbeing of the defendant
In the case of fault divorce, the defendant (the individual filing for divorce) must prove that their spouse took part in one of these wrongful actions to be granted a legal divorce. While fault divorces do not entitle the innocent spouse to a significant advantage in the divorce process, certain considerations such as alimony may be viewed more favorably.
Contact a Morristown No Fault and Fault Divorce Attorneys Today
At The Law Offices of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Bradley, our no fault and fault divorce attorneys take pride in serving Morris County clients from local communities including Chester, Chatham, Morristown, Morris Township, Mendham, Harding, and across all of Northern New Jersey. Our firm boasts six lawyers named to the New Jersey Super Lawyers List published by Thomson Reuters. We believe in offering alternatives to litigation based divorce, including mediation, but will not hesitate to aggressively litigate to protect the legal rights of our clients and their families.
For a free and confidential consultation regarding your grounds for divorce and how it may impact your case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office by calling 973-975-4043 today.