- One of the spouses must be a resident of New Jersey for at least 1 year prior to filing for divorce (or)
- When the cause for divorce is adultery and took place in New Jersey, 1 of the spouses must have been a resident.
The divorce may be filed for in any county in New Jersey.
Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey:
No Fault Divorce:
- Living separate and apart for 18 months and no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
General Divorce or Fault Based Divorce:
- Imprisonment for 18 months.
- Unnatural sexual behavior before or after marriage.
- Alcoholism or drug addiction.
- Confinement for incurable insanity.
- Willful desertion for 1 year.
- Cruel and inhuman treatment.
- Separation for 2 years caused by confinement for mental illness.
- Extreme cruelty.
Civil Union Dissolution in New Jersey:
The dissolution of a civil union may be adjudged for the following causes:
- Voluntary sexual intercourse between a person who is in a civil union and an individual other than the person’s partner in the civil union couple.
- Willful and continued desertion for a period of 12 or more consecutive months.
- Extreme cruelty, defined as including any physical or mental cruelty which endangers the safety or health of the Plaintiff or makes it improper or unreasonable to expect the Plaintiff to continue to cohabit with the Defendant, provided that no complaint for dissolution of the civil union shall be filed until after three months from the date of the last act of cruelty complained of in the complaint.
- Separation, provided that the partners in a civil union have resided separate and apart for a period of at least 18 or more consecutive months and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
- Voluntarily induced addiction or habituation to any narcotic drug or habitual drunkenness for 12 or more consecutive months after the establishment of the civil union and before filing the complaint.
- Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months after the establishment of the civil union and before filing the complaint.
- Imprisonment of the Defendant for 18 or more consecutive months after establishment of the civil union provided that if the action is not commenced until after the defendant’s release, the parties have not resumed cohabitation following the imprisonment.
The dissolution of civil unions shall follow the same procedures and be subject to the same substantive rights and obligations that are involved in the dissolution of marriage.
Legal Separation in New Jersey:
The grounds for legal separation (or a divorce from bed and board) are the same as for divorce. One of the spouses must be a resident of New Jersey for at least 1 year prior to filing for legal separation or when the cause for legal separation is adultery and took place in New Jersey, 1 of the spouses must have been a resident (no time limit).
Simplified/Special Divorce Procedures in New Jersey:
The filing of an acknowledgment of service of process or appearance is specifically authorized. Also, there is a required Case Information Statement which must be filed as shown in New Jersey Civil Practice Rules, Appendix V.
Alimony/Spousal Support in New Jersey:
Either spouse may be ordered to pay alimony, without regard to marital fault, based on the following factors:
- The duration of the marriage.
- The actual needs, obligations, and ability to pay of each spouse.
- The standard of living established during the marriage and the likelihood that each spouse can maintain a comparable standard of living.
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment and that spouse’s future earning capacity.
- The age of the spouses.
- The physical and emotional conditions of the spouses.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the spouses.
- The length of absence from the job market.
- Any child custodial responsibilities of the spouse.
- The availability of training and employment.
- The opportunity for the future acquisition of capital and income.
- The history or financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including the contribution of each spouse to the care and education of children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities.
- The equitable distribution of property and any payouts from this property, if a consideration of this income is fair and just.
- Any investment income available to either spouse.
- The tax consequences of any alimony.
- Any other factor the court deems just and equitable.
Child Custody in New Jersey:
Joint custody of a minor child to both parents, which is made up of legal custody or physical custody that includes provisions for residential arrangements so that the child shall reside either solely with one parent or alternatively with each parent in accordance with the needs of the parents and the child, and provisions for consultation between the parents in making major decisions regarding the child’s health, education and general welfare:
- Sole custody to one parent with appropriate parenting time for the noncustodial parent; or
- Any other custody arrangement as the court may determine to be in the best interests of the child.
When making an award of custody, the court shall consider the following factors:
- The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child.
- The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiate abuse.
- The interaction and relationship of the child with the parents and siblings.
- The history of domestic violence, if any.
- The safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent.
- The preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision.
- The needs of the child.
- The stability of the home environment offered.
- The quality and continuity of the child’s education.
- The fitness of the parents.
- The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes.
- The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation.
- The parents’ employment responsibilities.
- The age and number of the children.
A parent shall not be deemed unfit unless his/her conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child.
Child Support in New Jersey:
The court may award child support for the care, maintenance, and education of a child. The factors for consideration specified in the statute are:
- The needs and liability of the child.
- The standard of living and economic circumstances of both parents.
- The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the non-custodial and the custodial parent.
- The earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for the children, cost of childcare, and the length and cost of education and training to obtain employment.
- The need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education.
- The age and health of the child and the parents.
- The income, assets, and earning ability of the child.
- The responsibility of the parents for the support of others.
- Any other relevant factors.
Property Distribution in New Jersey:
New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. A spouse’s separate property acquired before a marriage is retained by that spouse. The entire spouse’s other property (except that acquired by gift and inheritance) is divided equitably, based on the following factors:
- The value of each spouse’s marital property.
- The value of the separate property of the spouses.
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and health of the spouses.
- The amount and sources of income of the spouses.
- The liabilities and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- How and by whom the property was acquired.
- The tax consequences to each spouse.
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective.
- Any written agreement between the spouses.
- The income and earning capacity of the spouses.
- The educational background, training, and employment skills of the spouses
- Any custodial responsibilities.
- The length of absence from the job market.
- The time and expense necessary to enable the spouse to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.
- The need for the parent with custody of any children to own or occupy the marital residence.
- The need to create a trust fund for the future medical or educational needs of a spouse or children.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses.
Disclaimer: The divorce law information provided is for informational purposes only not for legal advice purposes. This information is general in nature. Each jurisdiction has specific code and court procedures. A local divorce attorney is your best source for how divorce is treated in your jurisdiction. Before making any legal decisions we encourage you to consult with a local attorney…do not make decisions based on general state divorce law.