Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

New Jersey divorce attorneyIn New Jersey, divorce is governed by very specific legal requirements. These requirements impose very strict guidelines on what constitutes a proper legal reason for divorce, and what does not.

To file for divorce in New Jersey, you must meet one of the following grounds for divorce:

  • Irreconcilable Differences which caused the breakdown of the marriage for Six (6) or more months. Irreconcilable Differences establishes that (1) the marriage should be dissolved, and (2) there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
  • Desertion (willful) continued for Twelve (12) or more months – typically established by proof that the parties no longer cohabit as man and wife.
  • Voluntary addiction or habitual use of any narcotic drug (determined by New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, P.L. 1970, c. 226). OR, habitual drunkenness for Twelve (12) months (starting after marriage and ending before the complaint is filed).
  • Mental illness, for which the party has been institutionalized for Twenty-Four (24) or more consecutive months (the count of which starts after marriage and ends before the complaint is filed).
  • Extreme mental or physical cruelty which endangers the health or safety of the Plaintiff, or which makes it unreasonable (or improper) to expect the Plaintiff to cohabit with the Defendant. The divorce Complaint (document which starts the New Jersey divorce process) must be brought at least Three (3) months after the date of the last act of cruelty complained of.
  • Separation (living in different habitations) for at least Eighteen (18) consecutive months without any reasonable possibility of reconciliation.
  • Imprisonment of the Defendant for Eighteen (18) or more consecutive months (the count of which starts after marriage). However, if the parties resumed cohabitation after the Defendant was released, this ground is invalid.
  • Deviant sexual conduct performed by the Defendant, voluntarily, without the Plaintiff’s consent.
  • Adultery

Grounds for the Dissolution of a Civil Union

New Jersey allows for Civil Unions; available only to same-sex couples. These civil unions provide the parties with all the benefits, protections, and responsibilities as a married couple has. However, to dissolve a Civil Union in New Jersey, the parties must meet one or more of the following grounds.

To file for the dissolution of a Civil Union in New Jersey, you must meet one of the following grounds:

  • Separation (living in different habitations) for at least Eighteen (18) consecutive months without any reasonable possibility of reconciliation.
  • Voluntary addiction or habitual use of any narcotic drug (determined by New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, P.L. 1970, c. 226). OR, habitual drunkenness for Twelve (12) months (starting after marriage and ending before the complaint is filed).
  • Voluntary sexual intercourse between one of the parties to the Civil Union and someone that is not part of the Civil Union.
  • Desertion (willful) continued for Twelve (12) or more months – typically established by proof that the parties no longer cohabit as man and wife.
  • Extreme mental or physical cruelty which endangers the health or safety of the Plaintiff, or which makes it unreasonable (or improper) to expect the Plaintiff to cohabit with the Defendant. The divorce Complaint (document which starts the New Jersey divorce process) must be brought at least Three (3) months after the date of the last act of cruelty complained of.
  • Mental illness, for which the party has been institutionalized for Twenty-Four (24) or more consecutive months (the count of which starts after marriage and ends before the complaint is filed).
  • Imprisonment of the Defendant for Eighteen (18) or more consecutive months (the count of which starts after marriage). However, if the parties resumed cohabitation after the Defendant was released, this ground is invalid.

If you are considering filing for divorce or the dissolution of a Civil Union, New Jersey divorce attorney Christopher Leon Garibian can help. Call us today for a FREE consultation. We can help.