New Jersey State Divorce Law:


In order to file for a divorce in New Jersey, either Spouse must have been a Resident of the State for at least one year (12 months) before filing the action. The only exception to the one-year residency requirement is when the grounds for divorce are for Adultery.   In cases of adultery, the requirement is that at least one spouse must be a New Jersey state resident. Note: the grounds of Extreme Cruelty are just a “term of art” and this does not mean that your spouse was extremely cruel, and you may file under this ground three months after the last act of cruelty occurred.  Divorce in New Jersey is based on two types of Causes of Actions: (A) No-Fault Divorce Cause of Action and (B) No-Fault Divorce Causes of Action.


No-Fault Divorce Cause of Action in NJS:

  1. Irreconcilable Differences

Fault Divorce Causes of Action (ADIDIAC)

1.       Adultery

2.      Desertion/Abandonment

3.      Institutionalization

4.      Deviant Sexual Conduct

5.      Imprisonment/Incarceration

6.      Addiction

7.      Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

No-Fault Divorce Cause of Action:

A No-Fault Divorce is where both the husband and wife must have lived separately in different houses for a period of at least 18 consecutive months and has not expectation to reconcile.  In order to qualify for the No-Fault Divorce, there must be a reasonable expectation of Irreconcilable Differences.


  1. Irreconcilable Differences

To qualify under this ground of No-Fault Divorce, a complaint for divorce can now assert the existence of Irreconcilable Differences, which have caused a breakdown of the marriage for six or more months.  No separation requirement, meaning that two people can now file for divorce under this cause of action if they still live together.  Also it may be appropriate to allege in certain situations such as when two people have simply grown apart and wish to end their marriage. However, the couple still wishes to reside together until the divorce is finalized. This ground for divorce eliminates the need for spouses to allege wrongdoing on their spouse’s part.


The Legal Requirements Necessary to File for a No-Fault Divorce for Irreconcilable Differences Are as Follows:

  1. Residency Requirement: You or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for 12 consecutive months before the filing of the divorce complaint.
  2. Jurisdictional Requirement: You and your spouse must have experienced irreconcilable differences for six months. This new ground for divorce further allows either husband or wife to file a complaint for divorce without any specific reason. The irreconcilable differences basis for divorce does not require that one spouse make allegations or accusations against the other.  The legal impact is that persons may now file for divorce without having to allege marital fault against their spouse, or await the expiration of 18 months separation. The majority of cases are more vigorously contested with regard to such issues as custody, parenting time, alimony, child support and the equitable distribution of the marital assets. Marital fault is not a factor in the Financial Aspects of Divorce or in the Equitable Distribution of the Assets. Moreover, even in custody cases, the fact that one’s spouse has committed marital fault is not a significant factor. Note: If you have children with your former spouse then it is very important to keep the divorce litigation as “business like” as possible. The A divorce case is not designed to determine which spouse ruined the marriage, which is a Personal Question.  But rather, a divorce case is about splitting up the marital assets, paying off your debts, assessing a child support award, negotiating an alimony award, and figuring out what to do with the marital home, which is a Business Question. The role of the Family Court is not to make this Personal Question decision, but to execute this Business Question decision.  Thus, if you treat your divorce process just like a Business Decision and not a personal one, then your results will be much better.


Fault Divorce Causes of Action (ADIDIAC):


  1. Adultery

The courts have held that “adultery exists when one spouse rejects the other by entering into a personal intimate relationship with any other person, irrespective of the specific sexual acts performed; the rejection of the spouse coupled with out-of-marriage intimacy constitutes adultery.”  The New Jersey Court Rule requires that the plaintiff in an adultery divorce case state the name of the person with whom the offending conduct was committed.  This person is known as the correspondent.  If the name is not known, the person who files must give as much information as possible tending to describe the adulterer. Note: There is no waiting period. 


  1. Desertion/Abandonment

Desertion is the willful and continuous Abandonment by one party for a period of 12 or more months.  Under this fault divorce cause of action, the party alleging desertion must satisfactory provide a proof that the parties have ceased to cohabit as husband and wife for a period of 12 months or more.  It does not matter if the parties involved continue to live in the same house.  Also, Desertion may be claimed after twelve or more months for lack of sexual relations.


  1. Institutionalization

Divorce may be claimed base on institutionalization of one spouse for psychological or mental illness for a period of 12 or more consecutive months after getting marriage and before filing of the divorce complaint.  However, the primary issue in this institutionalization ground for divorce is whether or not the institutionalized spouse is able to function as a working partner in the marriage.


  1. Deviant Sexual Conduct

Divorce claim may be based on Deviant Sexual Conduct, which occurs if the defendant spouse engages in abnormal sexual act without the consent of the plaintiff spouse.


  1. Imprisonment/ Incarceration

Divorce may be claimed on the ground of Imprisonment or incarceration where one spouse had been imprisoned for a period of 18 or more months after the marriage.  In fact, the parties claiming divorce base on imprisonment or incarceration did not resume cohabitation after the imprisonment.


  1. Addiction

Divorce may be claimed on the basis of Addiction to alcoholic beverages or controlled dangerous substances.   Addiction involves a dependence on a narcotic or other controlled, dangerous substance or a habitual drunkenness to alcoholic beverages for a period of 12 or more consecutive months immediately before filing the complaint.  The party spouse alleging divorce based on Addiction must provide evidence to show that the use of alcohol and drugs was persistent and substantial.  This is not a common ground for divorce.


  1. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment (Extreme Cruelty)

Divorce may be claimed on the ground of Cruel and Inhuman Treatment (Extreme Cruelty) of one spouse by the other.  Cruel and Inhuman treatment or Extreme Cruelty includes any Physical or Mental Cruelty which makes it unreasonable or improper to expect that the individual spouses will cohabitate with each other.  The courts are very liberal as to what types of conducts constitute extreme cruelty.