Blog

Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

A client may want a divorce, but may be unsure on what basis a court would grant them a divorce.  In New Jersey, there are several grounds for divorce.  The legal term for grounds for divorce is “cause of action.”  In every divorce, a party has to allege a specific cause of action that warrants a legally sustainable basis for a divorce.

Irreconcilable Differences

The most utilized cause of action is irreconcilable differences. A party may plead that there have been “irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.” Accordingly, a party can simply plead irreconcilable differences, with no other allegation, and meet the legal standard of irreconcilable differences. There is no requirement for a period of separation. There is no need for name calling or disparaging the other party. A simple and innocuous assertion of irreconcilable differences is enough to meet the standard.

Filing under irreconcilable differences allows divorcing parties to proceed in a kinder, gentler fashion. This is extremely important to many couples, particularly those with children. Because divorce pleadings are public record, many clients are uncomfortable having to air the private and personal details of their married life in a divorce pleading.

Extreme Cruelty

Prior to the enactment of irreconcilable differences as a viable cause of action, most couples proceeded on the grounds of extreme cruelty. In this situation, a client has to assert acts of extreme cruelty that occurred during the marriage. I require my clients to provide me with six to eight allegations. Some struggle to have three allegations, while others give me hundreds. The beauty of irreconcilable differences is that a client no longer has to engage in this type of mudslinging. They still can, if they wish, but with irreconcilable differences available as grounds, they have the option not to.

18 Month Separation

In addition to irreconcilable differences and extreme cruelty, parties can file on the grounds of an 18-month separation. This cause of action is not widely utilized because most people cannot afford to live separate and apart for 18 months before filing for divorce. Therefore, these litigants were forced to allege extreme cruelty and come up with allegations against their spouses. Now the farce is over, and clients can simply say they have irreconcilable differences to meet the legal threshold necessary to file a complaint for divorce.

Other Grounds

In addition to irreconcilable differences, extreme cruelty, and 18 months separation, a party can proceed with an adultery cause of action which requires that they plead and eventually prove that their spouse had opportunity and inclination to cheat on them.

Desertion (12 or more consecutive months of no intimacy), imprisonment (18 or more months), deviant sexual conduct, habitual drunkenness, or drug addiction (12 or more months) still remain viable options as grounds for divorce. Filing under these grounds will not provide one with a financial benefit. In these cases, the client is often driven by his or her emotions to plead a cause of action.

It is the client’s personal decision as to which cause of action to assert in their complaint. New Jersey now provides litigants with a variety of grounds to obtain a divorce.

Please contact me at jlawrence@lawlawfirm.com if you have questions about this post or any other family law matter.

Back to Blog
SHARE THIS POST:

Related Posts

Blog
Jeralyn Lawrence Interview by Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station – Part V

Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station’s host of Ask The Expert interviewed Jeralyn Lawrence, a New Jersey Divorce and Family Lawyer.   This is Part V of a five part series of transcripts from the radio interview with Jeralyn. Ask The Expert Host Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station Interview with Divorce…

Read More
Blog
Coping with the aftermath of your divorce

How to Move on After a Divorce The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale is a tool used by mental health professionals to gauge the difficulty of a life event, and divorce is second on the scale only to the death of a spouse. Divorce attorneys and other professionals warn that divorce is an extremely traumatic process for…

Read More
Blog
Jeralyn Lawrence Interview by Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station – Part IV

Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station’s host of Ask The Expert interviewed Jeralyn Lawrence, a New Jersey Divorce and Family Law Attorney.   This is Part IV of a five part series of transcripts from the radio interview with Jeralyn. Ask The Expert Host Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station Interview with…

Read More
Blog
Jeralyn Lawrence Interview by Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station – Part III

Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station’s host of Ask The Expert interviewed Jeralyn Lawrence.  This is Part III of a five part series of transcripts from the radio interview with Jeralyn. Ask The Expert Host Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station Interview with Divorce and Family Law Attorney Jeralyn Lawrence –…

Read More
Blog
Divorce Counseling: The Good and the Bad

The Good and Bad of Divorce Counseling Family court systems favor combining divorce mediation and divorce therapy as it can be an effective way to solve problems and reach agreements with minimal involvement from judges. According to recent industry surveys, most divorce attorneys, mental health professionals, and social workers who specialize in divorce agree with…

Read More
Blog
Jeralyn Lawrence Interview by Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station – Part II

Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station’s host of Ask The Expert interviewed Divorce and Family Lawyer Jeralyn Lawrence.  This is Part II of a five part series of transcripts from the radio interview with Jeralyn. Ask The Expert Host Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station Interview with Divorce and Family Law…

Read More

Disclaimer and information can be found here, including links to descriptions and selection methodologies. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.