No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce in New Jersey

If you are moving towards ending your marriage, you may be wondering whether New Jersey is a no-fault or fault divorce state. In New Jersey, divorcing couples can file for a no-fault divorce. However, New Jersey also allows fault-based divorce. Whether you should pursue a no-fault or fault-based divorce depends on your circumstances and the outcome you want to achieve.

No-Fault Divorce in NJ

No-fault divorces are the most common in NJ. A no-fault divorce is an option for you if you feel that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences and neither party has done something wrong. Irreconcilable differences generally arise when issues within the marriage cannot be fixed. They occur when one or both parties believe the marriage cannot continue.

Because there is no need to put the blame on anyone, a no-fault divorce is ideal for spouses who do not want the public to know about their marital issues or fight humiliating allegations in public. A no-fault divorce can also help reduce the heavy burden a divorce places on children. It can be hard for children to hear bad or negative things about their parents.

Filing a No-Fault Divorce in NJ

The following are the requirements you need to meet to file a no-fault divorce in NJ;

  • One spouse must have been a resident of NJ for not less than twelve consecutive months before the divorce filing;
  • You and your spouse must have experienced irreconcilable differences for not less than six months;
  • Those differences are to blame for your marriage failing and must have made it clear that your marriage should end;
  • It is highly unlikely that you and your spouse could reconcile.

Another thing that qualifies you to file this type of divorce is showing that you and your spouse have been separated for at least two and a half years, and there is no chance you can reconcile.

Fault Divorce in New Jersey

A fault divorce in NJ is based on a spouse’s misconduct. In a fault divorce, the spouse filing for divorce does so on the ground that the other spouse did something wrong. If you file a fault divorce, you allege that your spouse’s misconduct is to blame for your divorce.

According to New Jersey law, the following are the specific grounds for a fault divorce in New Jersey;

  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Willful and continued desertion for 12 or more months
  • Voluntarily induced addiction or habituation to any narcotic drug 
  • Institutionalization for mental illness
  • Deviant sexual conduct
  • Incarceration

If you decide to file a fault-based divorce, you should note that you will be required to prove your allegations as part of the divorce process. For this reason, it is vital that you hire a skilled divorce lawyer.

Finally, it is crucial to note that misconduct may influence the court’s decision concerning alimony payments. For example, the court may reduce the alimony awarded to a cheating spouse or award a higher amount to the “innocent” party. However, it is not a guarantee that misconduct will affect the court’s decision regarding alimony payments.

Contact a New Jersey Family Lawyer

Contact our skilled New Jersey family lawyer at the Trabosh Law Firm to schedule a consultation and discuss your fault vs. no-fault divorce options in New Jersey.

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