Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

Relationships are never easy and often, divorce may be the best decision for an unhealthy marriage. When you file paperwork in New Jersey for divorce, the Complaint for Divorce form must be filed. It includes information about the marriage, including asset information and grounds for divorce, or in other words, the reason for the end of the marriage. New Jersey’s statute was amended in 2007 to allow for no-fault divorces. This means spouses can separate without having to make any public accusations. This helps to reduce contested divorces and allow for the two individuals to maintain some civility.

There are many grounds for divorce in New Jersey. These include:

Adultery: Adultery occurs when a spouse cheats on another. Accusations alone are likely not enough. This claim necessitates proof that may consist of social media posts, emails, and text messages.
Desertion: Desertion occurs when a couple has not cohabitated for more than one year.
Deviant Sexual Conduct: Deviant sexual conduct occurs when one spouse voluntarily exhibits conduct toward the other spouse without the latter’s consent. In the 1990s, marital rape was made criminal by the state of New Jersey.
Extreme Cruelty: This is any behavior that makes it unreasonable to continue to live with a spouse. Cruelty can consist of behavior other than physical abuse. Emotional cruelty is recognized as grounds for divorce.
Habitual Drunkenness
Imprisonment: If a spouse is incarcerated for more than 18 months after they have already been married, the other spouse may request a divorce. This cannot be claimed if the spouse in question was already a convict prior to marriage.
Institutionalization for Mental Illness: If a spouse has been institutionalized for mental illness, the other spouse may file for divorce. However, the spouse must be institutionalized for a period of more than two years, which started after the date of marriage.
Irreconcilable Differences: Couples who agree that there is no hope in saving their marriage after at least six months of their marriage can file for divorce.
Separation: New Jersey does not have a legal separation process. Spouses must not have cohabitated for at least 18 months.
Voluntary Addiction to Narcotic Drugs: If you can prove that your spouse had an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol for more than a year and it is harming the relationship, this is grounds for divorce.
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court decides who gets what based upon equity or fairness. Some grounds for divorce have an affect on child custody. For example, most judges will not allow children to remain in the sole custody of a spouse who has been found to be abusive or an alcoholic. They may even lose visitation with their child.

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Philip Smith Burnham II

Licensed since 1990

Member at firm Burnham Law Group, LLC

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