Arons & Solomon | July 22, 2016 | Articles
Filing for Divorce in New Jersey
One interesting fact about New Jersey is that it has the lowest rate of divorce among all 50 states when calculating the percentage of residents who are 18 years or older. A total of 9 percent of New Jersey adults are divorced. These results are based on there being “fewer risk factors” for divorce, being that people in New Jersey tend to marry at older ages, have higher education on average, and earn more when compared to other states. If you are considering getting a divorce, read below to learn more about filing for divorce in New Jersey so you can make informed decisions about the impact of divorce on you and your family.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
A typical divorce proceeding begins by filing a complaint for divorce in a particular county Superior Court within the state of New Jersey. New Jersey requires that either you or your spouse be a resident of the state for at least one year before filing for a divorce. An exception is carved out for the one-year residence requirement when the grounds for divorce is adultery. Divorce complaints require stipulation of why you are seeking a divorce, and the two possibilities are either: Fault-based or No-fault divorce. It is highly recommended you seek the advice of a skilled attorney to help you decide what grounds you wish to assert for divorce.
Fault Based Divorce
Filing for a fault-based divorce requires proof for the fault claimed, causing many proceedings to run in length, time and expense. Several reasons for a fault-based divorce exist, including:
- Extreme Cruelty
- Addiction, Drunkenness, or Drug Habituation
- Deviant Sexual Conduct
- Adultery (also known as “infidelity”)
No Fault Divorce
As compared to fault based divorce, no fault requires no specific condemnation for either party. One major benefit to no fault divorce is that there is no proof needed to show that one spouse is at fault for the marriage’s termination. No fault divorce requires that the parties to the marriage be separate and apart for 18 consecutive months — showing that there is no possibility for reconciliation. Irreconcilable differences is another reason for getting a no-fault divorce, meaning that the marriage has broken down for a period of 6 months and that there is no likelihood for reconciliation.
When Filing for Divorce, How is Property Distributed in New Jersey?
Part of filing for divorce requires considering how marital property will be distributed. New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that whatever property was obtained during a marriage should be split in an equitable, or fair, way — so parties can either choose to enter into an agreement of their choosing to accomplish this, or they must do so by court order.
Courts look to a variety of factors when deciding how to equitably allocate marital assets, including:
- The length of the marriage;
- The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
- The income or property brought to the marriage or civil union by each party;
- The standard of living established during the marriage or civil union;
- Any agreement created by the parties concerning arrangement of property distribution;
- The economic circumstances of each party at the time division of property becomes effective;
- And more.
Importantly, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean “equal” division of the marital assets — as the court must review monetary, as well as non-monetary contributions including child-rearing, home making, and other caretaking aspects of a marriage. Courts typically resist valuing each spouse’s individual contributions during the marriage. Also, only property that is acquired during the marriage may be subject to equitable distribution, but property held prior to marriage through such means as inheritance may not be subject to equitable distribution.
Contact Arons & Solomon Today for your Divorce Filing Needs
The complexity of filing for divorce hinges on many factors and can become a time-intensive and costly task. It is in your best interest to hire a skilled divorce attorney to help you avoid the ever-present pitfalls associated with filing and preparing for a divorce.