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Is New Jersey a no-fault divorce state?

In "no-fault" divorce states, both spouses can be considered blameless for the ending of their marriage. If a divorcing couple chooses to file their divorce in an uncontested manner, they may be able to work through their court procedures quickly and inexpensively.

New Jersey law provides two ways to file for no-fault divorce and seven ways to file for fault divorce.

No-Fault divorce claims

No-fault divorce actions can be made by citing either “separation” or “irreconcilable differences” as the cause of divorce. A no-fault divorce is generally easiest to handle in court and may also help you and your ex-spouse work through the divorce together amicably.

  • Separation — In order to cite separation as the cause of divorce, spouses must prove that they have lived separate and apart from one another for 18 consecutive months or more. They must also claim that there is no prospect of reconciliation.
  • Irreconcilable differences — Divorce based on the issue of irreconcilable differences is proven if spouses claim that their marriage has been irreconcilably broken down for six months or more. They must also claim that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

Fault divorce claims

While some states no longer provide fault divorce claims, New Jersey has seven possible causes to file a fault divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for 12 months or longer
  • Cruelty (physical or mental cruelty)
  • Addiction to any narcotic drug or habitual drunkenness for a year or longer
  • Institutionalization for mental illness for two years or more
  • Imprisonment of the defendant for 18 months or more
  • Sexual conduct without the consent of the plaintiff

Working with your ex-spouse through divorce can be difficult and confusing. While uncontested divorce options may help streamline court proceedings, an at-fault divorce claim may be better suited in some situations.

Contact an attorney to learn about which divorce options might be right for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. A lawyer can help you work with your spouse to come to arrangements that you, your children and your spouse can all be satisfied with.

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