The decision to end a marriage should not be made hastily. However, there may be times when a divorce is the best option for you and your family. If you’ve made the difficult decision to end your relationship, you might be wondering if you need a reason to file for divorce. In New Jersey, you can file for a “no-fault” or fault-based Complaint for divorce, and our Middlesex County divorce lawyers are here to explain the differences.
Grounds for Divorce
When filing for divorce, you will need to state the reason for the divorce. These reasons are called “grounds” for divorce. Grounds for divorce can either be “no-fault” or fault-based. One should note that New Jersey is a “no-fault” state. This means that a party will not be penalized or rewarded financially solely based on the reason for divorce or based on which party (if any) is at fault. A no-fault divorce means the spouse asking for the divorce doesn’t require proof that the other did something wrong. On the other hand, fault means that the behavior of one spouse constitutes grounds for divorce. There is only one ground for a “no-fault” divorce and seven grounds for a fault-based divorce. Again, keep in mind that New Jersey is now a “no-fault” state and most cases are now filed as “no-fault”.
New Jersey allows couples to file for a “no-fault” divorce. The grounds for a “no-fault” divorce are commonly seen as “irreconcilable differences.” To file for a no-fault divorce one of the spouses must have been a resident of New Jersey for at least one year, and irreconcilable differences must have existed for six months prior to filing for divorce.
New Jersey law defines adultery as one spouse rejecting the other spouse and entering into an intimate relationship with another person, irrespective of the specific sexual acts performed, and the rejection of the spouse coupled with out-of-marriage intimacy. The spouse alleging adultery must be able to prove it and must name the person the person the adultery took place with.
Deviant Sexual Conduct
Deviant sexual conduct is forcing a spouse into performing a sexual act despite their objecting to the act.
A couple living apart for more than 12 months or more creates grounds for divorce based on desertion. Proof of how long the couple has lived apart must be provided.
Extreme cruelty means that the actions of the abusive party leave their spouse no option but to end the marriage because it endangers their safety or health. Extreme cruelty can be physical and or mental harm to one spouse and makes it unreasonable to expect them to continue living with the abuser.
Addiction or Habitual Drunkenness
If a spouse has an addiction to any narcotic drug or is habitually drunk for a period of 12 consecutive months, the other can end the marriage on grounds of addiction or habitual drunkenness.
Imprisonment of a Spouse
If a spouse serves a prison sentence in excess of 18 months or more or if after the spouse is released from prison and the couple does not resume cohabitating, the other can file for divorce.
Institutionalization for Mental Illness
To use institutionalization as a ground for divorce, one party must have suffered from mental illness for 24 or more consecutive months during the marriage.
Should I file for a Fault-Based or No-Fault Divorce?
New Jersey law does not require a reason to file for divorce, but people still have the option to file under one of the above fault-based grounds. However, for the divorce to be awarded, there must be proof or testimony to support the ground.
A fault-based divorce is more complicated and time-consuming and it is recommended that you retain an attorney if you are considering this option. Rozin | Golinder Law understands the complexities of a fault-based divorce and can ensure your case is prepared and filed properly. Our East Brunswick divorce lawyers understand that divorce is never an easy situation to go through, but we want you to know that we are always here to assist you in your time of need.
To learn more about your options for divorce, contact Rozin | Golinder Law today at (732) 810-0034.