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What you need to know about fault-based and no-fault divorces in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Divorce |

New Jersey allows married couples to file no-fault divorces like every other state, but it is not considered as a pure no-fault state. This means you can file a fault divorce if you wish. However, only a few spouses choose this option as it makes the process longer and more complex. Additionally, couples need to prove the allegations in court.

To avoid public legal battles – and to make the process easier, more convenient and faster, most divorcing couples choose to file no-fault divorces despite the other party being solely responsible for the failure of the marriage.

What is a no-fault divorce?

Irreconcilable differences are the grounds for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey. These differences must have existed for a minimum of six months. The spouse seeking a divorce should fully believe that the marriage is beyond saving. There is no assessment of blame in this type of divorce. The division of marital property follows New Jersey’s equitable distribution law.

What is a fault-based divorce?

Divorcing couples may also seek fault divorces on grounds that existed before the introduction of the no-fault procedure. Allegations require support from witness testimony or other evidence.

The courts will accept a fault divorce on grounds of extreme physical or emotional cruelty, drug dependency or alcoholism lasting for at least a year, abandonment for at least a year, incarceration or institutionalization, and adultery or deviant sexual behavior.

It may make sense to file a no-fault divorce to simplify and speed up the process. Filing a fault-based divorce in certain situations may also make sense, even if the process is more complex and takes longer. This is especially true for spouses who are victims of abuse, as they may receive a generous alimony award and be given more consideration during the discussions for marital property division. An experienced divorce attorney can help guide you in making the right choice.

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