New Jersey law has been gradually evolving to allow for easier termination of “dead marriages” regardless of fault. Fault of either spouse has continued to decrease in significance, while the impact of filing for divorce based upon fault is ordinarily not significant. It is important to note that each divorce matter is different, and it is essential that each case be evaluated based upon its particulars. It is also important to note that, to properly file a complaint for divorce, the jurisdictional requirements must be met and a valid marriage must be in existence at the time of filing.
Although the New Jersey legislature has expressed its policy to terminate “dead marriages,” merely showing that a marriage is “dead” is not enough for divorce under New Jersey law – the parties and situation must meet specific statutory criteria before a court can terminate the marriage. Pursuant to statute, so long as all of the circumstances permit, a party may be granted a divorce based upon any of the following grounds:
- Willful and continuous desertion for twelve (12) or more months;
- Extreme cruelty;
- Separation (separate habitations for at least 18 consecutive months);
- Voluntary addiction or habituation to narcotics or habitual drunkenness;
- Institutionalization for mental illness;
- Imprisonment for eighteen (18) or more consecutive months after marriage;
- Deviant sexual conduct; and, as is most common,
- Irreconcilable differences.
Effective January 20, 2007, divorce may be adjudged in New Jersey for irreconcilable differences that have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six (6) months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Filing for divorce based upon irreconcilable differences will ordinarily allow the complaint for divorce to be shorter, less intrusive upon the privacy of the parties and, hopefully, will allow the proceedings to be less contentious.
If you have any questions in regards to divorce in New Jersey, equitable distribution, or any aspect of family law, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.
Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. / Timothy J. Little, P.C. / 2017 – All Rights Reserved
Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, Esq. and Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. represent individuals, families and businesses throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Holmdel, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth), Ocean County (Brick, Jackson, Toms River), Somerset County, and Burlington County. If you have any questions or concerns regarding family law or divorce, please contact the attorneys at Timothy J. Little, P.C.
Family Law Practice Areas:
Divorce, equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, alimony, domestic violence, child custody, child support, parenting time, emancipation applications, removal applications, Marital Settlement Agreements, post-judgment enforcement and modification applications