Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


New Jersey No Fault Divorce


According to New Jersey divorce laws, one can get divorce on the grounds of “no-fault’ or on “fault” grounds. NJ no-fault divorce laws specify that a spouse can file divorce on the grounds of “no-fault” by stating that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down” and that there is no scope for reconciliation at all. The period of separation between the spouses is at least eighteen consecutive months with the spouses not sharing the same house at and not just separate rooms.

The “fault grounds” on whose basis one can get divorce include: adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, addiction, imprisonment, institutionalization etc

Residential requirements in NJ no-fault divorce

A person can file for divorce in the state of New Jersey if he/she or his/her spouse has resided in that state for one year prior to filing of the divorce. If the fault grounds have adultery as the cause, then the one year residency requirement is not important.

Filing of NJ no-fault divorce

A person intending to get divorce in the state of New jersey can file from the county he/she is residing or where his/her spouse is residing (meeting the residential requirements clause) or from the county where the grounds of divorce arose. As soon as the divorce case is filed, the procedure begins. Once the defendant acknowledges the services pf the divorce petition, then the jurisdiction of the supreme court of NJ is established on him/her.

Answering the no-fault divorce petition

If the defendant fails to answer the “no-fault” divorce services that were informed to him/her, then the defendant is said to have “defaulted”. This means that the plaintiff can get whatever was claimed by him/her on the paper while filing for divorce. However, this is not the final or lasting decree; because the defendant may file for “filing a request for equitable distribution” so that his/her arguments about property division or child custody or spousal support would be analyzed and contested in the court.

Alimony in no-fault divorce

In most of the no-fault divorce cases, spouses try to settle the matter of alimony or spousal support “outside the court”, so that they avoid contesting in the court, especially in front of the children. In cases, they fail to reach unanimity in spousal support amount, courts are likely to intervene. Here, courts look into the duration of marriage, age and health of the financially weaker spouse, employability of the spouse, parental responsibilities etc. the alimony decision may be of permanent nature and needs to be extended for a long period of time, may be rehabilitative till the spouse reaches financial soundness etc.

Property division in NJ no-fault divorce

New Jersey is “equitable property division” state, where the property acquired during the marriage (marital property) is divided justifiably and fairly among the spouses. Here, courts look into the financial health of the spouses, length of the marriage, the children involved, market value of the property etc. The property division is not necessarily 50/50 and the courts may even invade the private property of a spouse if it deems that the financial requirements by one spouse are more.

Child custody in NJ no-fault divorce

The matter of child custody is settled in the guidelines of child custody of the state. When courts are asked to award custody, they keep the “best interests of the child” as the top most priority. If a parent contests that the presence of the other spouse has detrimental effect on the child, then courts would determine the final custody matter as who to get the custody etc. financial situation of the spouses are not considered here while awarding child custody.

Settlement agreement in NJ no-fault divorce

The plain truth is that there are several divorce cases pending in the courts of New Jersey and very few judges. Thus, the procedure of trial would take very long. Hence, it is increasingly important to settle most of the issues “outside the court”. That is what most of the spouses do. They prefer settling custody or alimony or property division matters by themselves with the help of attorney or participating in court-sponsored settlement programs. They may even participate in divorce mediation programmers that would try to arrive at a settlement agreement. This agreement is to be attached and sent get the final decree from the court.

You may file your divorce on “fault grounds” if you are sure that you have a substantial edge over your spouse on custody or property division matters. Consult your attorney about this issue and then only file the case.


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