What are the grounds for divorce in New Jersey?

New Jersey law provides several grounds for seeking an obtaining a divorce in the state. Couples who wish to do so may proceed under the ground of irreconcilable differences in which neither allege fault for the marital breakdown against the other. There are also fault grounds under which a person seeking a divorce may instead choose to proceed.

The law outlines the potential grounds available to divorcing people. Fault grounds provide people with the ability to allege fault on the part of the other spouse. People who choose to proceed under a fault theory may choose to do so in order to avoid such things as alimony or to assert their rights to child custody. In most cases, however, irreconcilable differences is the preferred ground under which to file.

Allowable fault grounds in New Jersey include a spouse's mental illness leading to institutionalization for 24 months or incarceration for a period of 18 months or longer. Willful and continued physical or sexual desertion by a spouse for a period of longer than 12 months are also grounds for a divorce. When a spouse is addicted to alcohol or drugs or has committed adultery, fault grounds are also available.

Choosing the particular grounds under which to proceed in a divorce is an important decision. While emotions may be running high, it is often most beneficial and less expensive for people to choose to proceed on the basis of irreconcilable differences. Especially when a couple has children and will have to continue contact with one another in a civil manner following the divorce, avoiding the assignation of fault can be important. There are some situations, however, in which proceeding under a fault ground can be important and beneficial. People who have questions regarding the grounds for divorce may wish to speak with a divorce attorney.

Source: New Jersey Permanent Statutes Database, "2A:34-2 Causes for divorce from bond of matrimony. ", November 11, 2014

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