Divorce in NJ – New Jersey Divorce Laws, Separation and Attorneys


Divorce in NJ can be filed as on either fault or no-fault grounds if one of the spouses has been a New Jersey residents for at least 12 months. The most common ground for divorce is no-fault “irreconcilable differences, which is much less stressful than fault-based grounds. There is no waiting period for a divorce in NJ however there are some timeframes that depend on the grounds of your divorce. For example, “irreconcilable differences” requires that these issues have been going on for 6 months or longer.

New Jersey has a moderate divorce rate through out the state which is 3.0 per 1,000 of the total population.

In annulment the marriage is dissolved as it never existed. Its grounds are rare and difficult to prove, making it not a much often opted option. To be on safe side and to avoid any substantial loss, divorce attorneys and lawyers can provide you with discrete services wherever required during the dissolution process.

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Grounds for Divorce in NJ

In New Jersey, the petition for divorce must declare the appropriate grounds on the basis of which the divorce is declared. The petitioner must have been a resident of the State for at least a year before the case is filed.

The pertinent lawful ground will be upon which both the spouses substantially agree or that which the claimant proves to the court.

The divorce grounds in New Jersey are categorized in:

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey:

In New Jersey separation mostly occurs on one no-fault ground for divorce, which is:

Irreconcilable Differences

Under this ground, the issues must have been going on for six months or longer. If the spouses have lived apart for a period of at least 18 consecutive months, a divorce in NJ has no waiting period. The same is true if the couple have only been married for six months or less. Beyond that, the waiting period can vary form county to county however there is a minimum 35 days permitted for the respondent to respond after papers are served.

Fault Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey:

The divorce grounds in New Jersey, under this type include:


Desertion or marital abandonment is normally wilful desertion which may be claimed after a year of a lack of sexual relations too. The abandonment must be for 12 consecutive months or longer.

Extreme Cruelty

Extreme cruelty means any physical or mental cruel act which makes it offensive for other spouse in order to live with. It is a fault divorce ground in New Jersey. The court is free to decide which conduct was brutal enough according to the situation.


The State court law terms adultery as the rejection of the spouse coupled with out-of-marriage intimacy. The courts have held that “adultery is irrespective of the specific sexual acts performed”. Before the court the name of the person with whom the offending conduct was committed must be stated. Else the claimant must provide enough information proving the other spouse an adulterer to get a divorce on this divorce ground in New Jersey.


Addiction is not a common ground for divorce. To get a divorce under this divorce ground in NJ, you must show the proper involvement of the defendant’s in drugs or alcohol for a period of one year continuously preceding the filing of the complaint. The plaintiff must provide substantial evidence.


If the spouse is discovered mentally ill for a period of one year after the marriage and before the filing of the complaint, divorce shall be granted. But the primary issue for this ground for divorce is whether or not the spouse is able to function as a working partner in the marriage.


In New Jersey imprisonment serves as a ground for divorce. Divorce will be granted on this divorce ground in New Jersey when a spouse has been imprisoned for 18 or more months after the marriage and the married couple has not continued living together after the accountable is sent to prison.

Deviant Sexual Conduct:

Deviant sexual conduct is a divorce ground in New Jersey if the defendant occupies in it without the consent of the plaintiff spouse.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in New Jersey.

New Jersey Divorce Laws

New Jersey has following divorce laws:


To file a case for a divorce in NJ, residency requirements set by New Jersey divorce laws, must be met. If discovered false, the New Jersey divorce court will not accept it or it will be dismissed. The residency requirements are:

  • When, the decision of divorce was taken, either party was a resident of the State.
  • Either party for a minimum period of 1 year next preceding the commencement of the action has continued to be resident of the State.

Documents Required for Filing Divorce

According to New Jersey divorce laws, following are the essential documents needed to start and finalize a divorce:

  • Complaint for divorce
  • Judgment of divorce

These may also be needed:

  • Cover Letter to Clerk
  • Case Information Sheet
  • Summons
  • Appearance
  • Financial Statement for Summary Support Actions
  • Declaration under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.

Property Distribution

In New Jersey, all the property is divided under the concept of equitable (fair) distribution as New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. The New Jersey divorce court encourages the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the divorce court declares the property award.

Change of Name or Restoration of Name

According to New Jersey divorce laws, a spouse may make a request in the divorce court for a change of name. This change of name should be published in the local newspaper of the state in which that party is residing.

Mediation Counseling

If one of the spouses does not agree to the dissolution of marriage then the New Jersey divorce court gives both parties a time for counseling. This time span is not less than thirty days and not more than six months, and after that the divorce court decides whether marriage is once and for all broken or not.


Under New Jersey divorce laws, the New Jersey divorce court may award, the dependent spouse, alimony, which usually is meant for maintenance of that spouse in a lifestyle to which he or she had become habituated during the marriage.

Child Custody

The New Jersey divorce courts try doing everything possible to help reduce the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing during the process of final dissolution. If the parents cannot come to a conclusion regarding the child custody, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion in which the best wishes of the children will be the priority.

Child Support

Child support in the New Jersey divorce laws is generally measured by applying the Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines gives a plan of support that relies upon the parties’ combined incomes. The parent without the custody is responsible for paying the custodial parent their percentage of the support that is owed for the child.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information in your state.

New Jersey Annulment Laws

The court’s order identifying a marriage as void is called annulment. In other words, annulment is the decree nullifying the validity of a marriage. Under New Jersey annulment laws, both you and your spouse can remarry after getting annulment. The basic reason for tailoring NJ annulment grounds is to help the couples in nullifying their relationship. Following are the valid grounds for annulment in New Jersey:

Addiction to Drugs

According to New Jersey annulment laws, if your spouse is involved in habitual intoxication of drugs or liquor like opium, cocaine or morphine, you can obtain annulment.

Bigamy and Polygamy

Bigamy means having two spouses at a time. If you or your spouse have more than one spouse, both you and your spouse can file for annulment under New Jersey annulment laws.

Fraud and Duress

If your spouse employed fraud or force to obtain your consent for the marriage, your marriage won’t be considered valid. Therefore you can obtain annulment according to New Jersey annulment laws.

Physical Disability

If your spouse has a physical disability which is affecting your marital relationship, you can get annulment under New Jersey annulment laws.

New Jersey Divorce Laws-Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the residency requirement for divorce in New Jersey?

    A person becomes eligible to file a divorce in New Jersey when s/he has completed 1 year residence in New Jersey.

  2. Is it necessary for both of the spouses to be residents of New Jersey?

    According to New Jersey divorce laws, one of the spouses must be a resident of the state to claim a divorce. However, New Jersey divorce laws do not require both of the spouses to be residents of the state.

  3. Is there any complication if my spouse is not in New Jersey?

    The only complication you will face is to serve the divorce papers in the state in which your spouse is living. Serving papers stand for giving official notice according to New Jersey divorce laws.

  4. What is the cost of a divorce in NJ?

    The NJ court charges a divorce filing fee which is $250, and each motion will cost $30. Lawyers charges different fees and cases vary in complexity. It may range from as little as $500 for a simple divorce to $20,000 or more depending on complexity.

  5. I can’t afford a divorce lawyer. Is there any other way of representing myself in the divorce court?

    Yes. If you can not afford to hire a divorce lawyer, divorce laws of New Jersey let you represent yourself in the divorce court.

  6. Can I hire a divorce attorney or divorce lawyer on a contingent fee basis?

    The answer is No. According to New Jersey divorce laws no divorce lawyer (or family law matter) can work on the contingent fee basis.

  7. What is the amount to be paid as child support?

    There is no definite percentage fixed as child support. The court will take in account the income of your spouse and then decide how much your ex- spouse can pay as child support.

  8. Is there any fixed amount for alimony?

    It depends on your spouse’s income, your differences with him and the duration of your marriage. Alimony issue is decided on the basis of these factors.

  9. Everything is well-settled between me and my spouse; do we still need a divorce attorney?

    Even if you and your spouse have no issues worth settling, it is still advised to hire a divorce attorney to help you with documentation. You and you’re your spouse should hire two different divorce attorneys.

  10. What is mediation?

    Mediation is the settlement between husband and wife to resolve all the issues regarding custody, alimony or property in the presence of a mediator.

  11. If we have settled all the issues, how much time will it take to be divorced?

    Although there is no official waiting period for divorce in NJ, it will take at least six weeks to get divorced, but usually a lot longer. Time depends not only on case complexity but how busy the courts are. They aim to complete within 12 months but this depends on complexity.

  12. Is it necessary for me to go to court?

    Yes, New Jersey divorce laws require you to go to the court on each hearing even if your divorce is uncontested.

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