Adultery and Divorce in New Jersey

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Adultery and Divorce in New Jersey

Woman with her hands over her ears sitting on a couch with a manGrounds for divorce in New Jersey

There are two types of divorce in New Jersey: “no fault divorce” and  “at fault divorce.”

Adultery and the law

No fault divorce is possible if the married couple establishes irreconcilable differences for a period of six months or more. It is also possible to obtain a no-fault divorce if the parties have lived apart for more than 18 months. Among the fault-based grounds, you may be able to obtain a divorce if the court determines that your spouse has committed adultery.

At fault divorce requires that one of the parties establishes specific reasons for the divorce. These include the following:

  1. Adultery
  2. Willful desertion for one year or more
  3. Extreme cruelty
  4. Drug addiction
  5. Alcoholism
  6. Institutionalization for mental illness for two years or longer
  7. Incarceration for 18 or more consecutive months
  8. Deviant sexual contact in the marriage without the consent of the other party

Is adultery illegal in New Jersey?

The act of committing adultery is not a crime in New Jersey, although it is in some other states.

Can cheating affect divorce? 

The presence of adultery in a marriage does not mean that the parties are unable to file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences. Depending upon the circumstances, it is up to the person filing for divorce if they want to proceed on account of adultery.

Adultery is defined as the act of engaging in sexual relations with someone other than your spouse. For adultery to be committed, one or both sexual partners must be married to someone other than their sexual partner. Under New Jersey law, this is a basis for at fault divorce.

Divorce laws in New Jersey

In New Jersey, courts consider many factors in determining alimony. Most of them have nothing to do with adultery or infidelity, however certain factors can be considered specifically regarding spousal support. They include:

  1. Duration of the marriage: length of the marriage may be impacted by cheating or infidelity
  2. Emotional health of the parties: one spouse’s misconduct can have a significant impact on the emotional health of the other party.

In addition, if the party petitioning for divorce can demonstrate how adultery or infidelity impacts their financial situation. This circumstance can be relevant.

However, if you file for divorce in New Jersey based on alleged adultery, you will need to be able to substantiate that the claimant knows your rights and responsibilities as it relates to adultery and the law.

The court is required to consider a series of factors when making a determination as to whether to award alimony as well as the amounts and how long the payment should last. The list does not include adultery or fault in general, however when courts are deciding how much alimony to award,  adultery could be a consideration in that decision. Fault does not play a role in an alimony award, except when a spouse’s misconduct impacts the couple’s economic status quo, or the misconduct is especially egregious.

A court may compensate a spouse by ordering the unfaithful spouse to pay more alimony, if for example, the spouse who is cheating funds the affair by using marital monies.

Adultery and child custody

Decisions concerning the children involving custody and parenting time will always be based on the children’s best interests. Generally, a court will not determine that adultery alone is a basis to find that a spouse is not fit.

Trust after cheating

It is often difficult to gain trust after cheating. Seeking out professionals who can help, and a strong support system through family and friends could be helpful in working through obstacles in a marriage before deciding to divorce.

Military spouse and divorce

The service member can file for divorce in New Jersey if they or their spouse is a bona fide resident or is stationed in New Jersey. These rules apply to divorce in all branches of the military. 

Can you get alimony if you cheated in New Jersey? 

Yes, you can get alimony if you cheated in New Jersey because alimony and adultery are not necessarily handled together. There are often situations where the parties have decided to proceed on a no-fault basis, even though adultery took place during the marriage.

What proof do you need to divorce for adultery?

Divorcing an adulterer: Oftentimes when people are working to prove adultery, they provide evidence of social media posts, receipts for meals, hotels, and trips. The person seeking to prove divorce is working toward establishing that a relationship existed.

Adultery and Divorce

At DeTorres and DeGeorge, lawyers in New Jersey for divorce, we can help you through the complicated process of alimony, infidelity, divorcing an adulterer, and adultery and divorce. We work tirelessly to negotiate strong agreements that protect our clients’ financial interests and prioritize their economic needs so that they have an understanding of adultery and the law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your concerns about adultery and divorce, or your rights to alimony. We are here to help!

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