NEW JERSEY DIVORCE LAW
Obtaining a divorce in New Jersey will legally end your marriage. After the divorce you and your ex-spouse will be considered single and will be able to re-marry. You should always consider the divorce laws of New Jersey before proceeding with a divorce. It is important to contact a New Jersey divorce attorney for further advice.
Legal separation, also known as “divorce from bed and board,” is allowed in New Jersey. Legal separation does not legally end your marriage, but does not prevent you from obtaining a divorce later. Once you have obtained a legal separation you will still be considered married and are unable to re-marry. Some people may choose this form of separation for religious purposes. The New Jersey court will adjudicate all issues involved in the separation in the same way it would in a divorce.
Grounds For Divorce
New Jersey has fault-based and no-fault based grounds for divorce. A divorce based on fault requires a much more detailed and specific reason than the no-fault standard. Examples of such fault-based reasons include: adultery, a felony conviction, abandonment for more than 1 year, habitual drug or alcohol abuse, imprisonment for over 18 months, mental institutionalization for over 2 years, extreme cruelty, and deviant sexual conduct. New Jersey also allows no-fault divorces based on irreconcilable differences. The irreconcilable differences must have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of at least 6 months, make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved, and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. It is important to discuss divorce options with a licensed New Jersey divorce attorney.
Divorce Residency Requirements
One of the parties to a divorce in New Jersey must have been a resident of New Jersey for at least 1 year before filing the complaint/petition for divorce. The complaint/petition should also be filed in a county where one of the parties resides. The New Jersey Superior Court for that particular county will have jurisdiction over all aspects of the divorce proceeding.
You may decide to seek an annulment in New Jersey rather than a divorce. If a New Jersey court grants an annulment, rather than ending a marriage by divorce, the court is declaring that the marriage was never valid to begin with. You will not need to obtain a divorce because once you are granted an annulment you are no longer legally married. Reasons for an annulment can include fraud, bigamy, lack of capacity, duress, a party’s minor status, or consanguinity. It is important to speak with a New Jersey divorce attorney if you are contemplating an annulment.
Equitable Division of Marital Property
New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. Equitable distribution means that marital property will be distributed on terms considered by the court to be “fair.” However, “fair” does not always mean equal. In fact, it is more likely that the distribution will not be 50/50. In making an equitable distribution the New Jersey courts will consider, a non-exhaustive list of factors in the corresponding New Jersey statute. The court makes a rebuttable presumption that each party made a substantial financial or nonfinancial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while the party was married. Property distribution in a divorce can be very complex and a New Jersey divorce attorney should be consulted.
Links to Divorce Statutes