No-Fault Divorce in NJ
New Jersey permits no-fault divorce like every other state in the country. Gone are the days when a party would need to allege, and prove, that their spouse committed some grievous wrong in order to file for divorce. Now, so long as the base requirements are met, parties can divorce simply because the marriage is no longer working. For a breakdown of no-fault divorce in New Jersey, read on. If you are considering divorce, talk to an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for advice and assistance.
No-Fault Is an Option, not a Requirement in New Jersey
Every state in the U.S. allows some form of no-fault divorce. Many states, however, have taken no-fault divorce to the extreme and have completely eliminated all fault grounds for divorce. New Jersey has not yet done so. Parties seeking to divorce can still choose to file based on traditional “fault” grounds, including adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty, and drug or alcohol addiction. Alternatively, they can choose to file for a no-fault divorce as discussed below. Parties can also file based on multiple grounds.
Requirements for No-Fault Divorce in New Jersey
In New Jersey, parties seeking to divorce without alleging fault can file based on “irreconcilable differences.” Irreconcilable differences generally means that the parties can no longer get along as a married couple and that there’s no hope of fixing the problems in the future. Neither party needs to allege that anything “bad” happened, such as adultery.
To file for no-fault divorce in New Jersey, the parties must meet the following requirements:
- At least one spouse has lived in New Jersey for 12 consecutive months before filing for divorce (residency);
- The parties have experienced irreconcilable differences for at least six months;
- Those irreconcilable differences have caused the breakdown of the marriage, such that it appears the marriage should end; and
- There is no reasonable hope that the parties will reconcile.
In addition to “irreconcilable differences,” “separation” is typically considered a no-fault reason for divorce. To file based on separation, the parties must have lived separate and apart for at least 18 months.
“No-Fault” Does Not Mean No Hassle
A no-fault divorce means only that the grounds for the divorce are not based on the fault of either party. The vast majority of divorces in the modern era are based on no-fault grounds. No-fault does not mean that the parties agree on all issues and the divorce proceeding will be a breeze. The parties will still need to resolve property division, alimony, child support, child custody, and all other issues attendant to the divorce. If the parties cannot resolve these issues via mediation, arbitration, settlement negotiations, or other means, the matter will proceed through the court, regardless of the no-fault basis. If you are seeking a no-fault divorce, it is still very important to have experienced legal representation on your side to protect your interests, your finances, and your family.
Experienced Legal Advice and Representation For Your New Jersey Divorce or Family Law Matter
If you need seasoned and effective legal assistance with divorce, paternity, child custody, premarital agreements, child support, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.