The divorce process in New Jersey is regulated by the New Jersey divorce statutes. There are many different laws that govern:
- The criteria for divorce
- The grounds for divorce
- Which property each spouse can claim and how the division of property is decided
- The types of alimony that may be awarded
- How child custody is determined
- How child support is determined
A skilled divorce lawyer understands New Jersey family law and how these laws affect your rights. Skilled lawyers explain each step of the divorce litigation process. We assert your rights in court and through alternative divorce resolution methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce. We work to apply these laws to your unique family situation to help ensure you and your family are financially and emotionally protected.
New Jersey divorce laws – grounds for divorce
The grounds for divorce in NJ are set forth in – Section 2A:34-2 – Causes for divorce from bond of matrimony. There are two grounds for divorce which don’t require a showing of fault according to the NJ divorce laws:
- NJ divorce laws – irreconcilable differences. You can file for divorce from your spouse if the marriage breaks down because you fail to get along with your spouse for six months or more and there’s no reason to believe you and your spouse will reconcile. Many spouses use this no-fault ground to obtain a NJ divorce.
- Separation. You can seek a divorce from your spouse if you haven’t lived together in the same house for 18 consecutive months or more – and there’s no reason to believe you’ll reconcile.
There are seven fault-grounds for divorce. One common ground is adultery. New Jersey divorce laws on adultery generally just apply to the grounds for divorce. Spouses may use an adultery claim if they don’t have a no-fault ground – though if one spouse has committed adultery, it’s likely there are irreconcilable differences. Adultery generally does not affect the amount of alimony that is ordered or the equitable division of the property.
The other grounds for divorce according to the New Jersey divorce laws include:
- Abandonment – your spouse leaves the home for a year or more.
- Extreme cruelty – this includes physical and mental abuse. There is a three-month waiting period
- Substance abuse addition – for a consecutive year or more.
- Institutionalization for mental illness for 24 or more consecutive months.
- Imprisonment – for 18 or more consecutive months provided you lived apart after your spouse was released.
- Deviant sexual conduct – without your consent.
Your family lawyer can explain how the New Jersey divorce laws for civil union couples apply in light of recent US Supreme Court rulings.
New Jersey divorce laws – NJ marital property laws
Family judges determine what assets are marital property and how those assets are divided based on 16 different factors – set forth in Section 2A:34-23.1 – Equitable distribution criteria. Some of these factors include:
- The length of the marriage or civil union
- The age of the spouses and their health
- The non-marital property of each spouse
- The standard of living the spouses had during the marriage
- Any prenup agreements
- The financial circumstances of the spouses when they divorce
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The contributions each spouse made to the education, training, and earning potential of the other spouse
- Many other factors
New Jersey divorce laws – NJ alimony laws and child support laws
New Jersey does permit several types of alimony according to Section 2A:34-23 – Alimony, maintenance
The main types of alimony according to the New Jersey divorce laws are:
- Alimony pendente lite (alimony during litigation). A spouse may be ordered to pay this type of alimony to ensure that each spouse maintains their financial position during the divorce process.
- Open durational alimony. This type of alimony is generally used for couples who were married for 20 years or more. The alimony is open-ended though it generally ends when the spouse who pays alimony reaches the age of retirement.
- Limited duration alimony. This alimony is for a specific length of months and/or years. Its aim is to help the spouse who receives the funds become more self-supporting. The length of this support is usually no longer than the number of years the spouses were married.
- Rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony is for a limited time to help a spouse become self-supporting by paying for the spouse’s education, training, and other related expenses.
- Reimbursement alimony. If you made financial contributions to your spouse’s education or career (or received those contributions), this type of alimony may be awarded (or required).
- Child support is based on:
- The child’s needs
- The income and assets of each parent
- The earning ability of each parent
- The child’s needs – including higher education needs
- The age and health of the children and parents
- Any obligations of a parent to support children from other relationships
- Other factors
At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our divorce lawyers understand the New Jersey divorce laws the apply to your case. We work through all of the factors listed in these laws to present as strong a case as possible. We also seek to enforce these laws to protect your interests. To speak with an experienced family lawyer who understands the New Jersey divorce laws, call us at 908-691-2104 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Morristown.