If you’re looking into divorcing your spouse, you might be coming across terms like “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorce. So, what do no-fault and fault-based divorces mean in New Jersey?
Divorces in New Jersey are filed under two categories: no-fault and fault. No-fault divorce is uncontested, meaning that neither you nor your ex’s actions can be attributed as the main reason for why you want a divorce. Fault-based divorce is the opposite, in which your ex’s actions are the main reason for ending your marriage.
What Should I Know About No-Fault Divorce in New Jersey?
A no-fault divorce is uncontested, so they’re easier, less expensive, and take less time to finalize than fault-based ones. Most New Jersey couples who get divorced will get a no-fault divorce for these reasons.
What Are the Grounds for No-Fault Divorce in New Jersey?
If you are filing for a no-fault divorce, you only have to prove to the court that the two of you have “irreconcilable differences” for at least 6 months which can’t be attributed to something that one spouse has done wrong.
Another way to get a no-fault divorce is if you’ve been living separately from your ex for 18 months, but these grounds don’t usually come up in no-fault divorces since you can use the “irreconcilable differences” grounds in a third of the time. It’s important to add that separate living arrangements aren’t a legal requirement for no-fault divorces. In fact, you can live with your ex even after your divorce is finalized, though you will have to show the court more proof that your marriage is unable to function.
What Should I Know About Fault-Based Divorce in New Jersey?
Though fault divorces are less common and more complicated than their no-fault counterparts, there are instances where pursuing fault-based divorce may be the right choice. You would have to provide evidence in court that your ex has committed specific grounds for fault-based divorce.
What Are the Grounds for Fault Divorce in New Jersey?
Grounds for fault divorce in NJ include the following:
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol (over 12 months)
- Extreme cruelty (intentionally embarrassing behavior, emotional abuse, gambling addiction, battery, assault, isolation and monitoring, psychological abuse, and more)
- Imprisonment (18 months or more)
- Deviant Sexual Misconduct
- Abandonment (a spouse willful deserts their partner for over 12 consecutive months)
- Institutionalization due to mental illness (for 24 consecutive months after marriage)
It is important to recognize that while establishing fault is required to get a fault-based divorce, doing so is not going to have an impact on the court’s decisions of custody, visitation, and division of property.
While divorce may be overwhelming, please know that you are not alone. If you are researching divorce matters in New Jersey and have more questions, you can schedule a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney at 973-922-1035 from Maria A. Giammona Law. We have been providing caring and compassionate representation for family law matters in Totowa, Wayne, West Milford, Woodland Park and throughout Passaic County for over 20 years. We’ll look at every aspect of your situation and help you determine the best strategy for your family.