When filing for divorce in New Jersey, you must include the grounds, or reason for, the divorce in your petition. There are two types of grounds for divorce, fault and no-fault.
In a no-fault divorce, the filing party does not have to prove that the other did anything wrong.
There are seven fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey, and two no-fault grounds.
No-fault grounds include:
Separation, provided that the husband and wife have lived separate and apart in different habitations for a period of at least 18 or more consecutive months and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation; provided, further that after the 18-month period there shall be a presumption that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation; and 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.
Other grounds for divorce in New Jersey include:
- Extreme cruelty, which is defined as including any physical or mental cruelty which endangers the safety or health of the plaintiff or makes it improper or unreasonable to expect the plaintiff to continue to cohabit with the defendant; provided that no complaint for divorce shall be filed until after 3 months from the date of the last act of cruelty complained of in the complaint, but this provision shall not be held to apply to any counterclaim.
- Willful and continued desertion for the term of 12 or more months, which may be established by satisfactory proof that the parties have ceased to cohabit as man and wife.
- Voluntarily induced addiction or habituation to any narcotic drug as defined in the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act or habitual drunkenness for a period of 12 or more consecutive months subsequent to marriage and next preceding the filing of the complaint.
- Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months subsequent to marriage and next preceding the filing of the complaint.
- Imprisonment of the defendant for 18 or more consecutive months after marriage, provided that where the action is not commenced until after the defendant’s release, the parties have not resumed cohabitation following such imprisonment.
- Deviant sexual conduct voluntarily performed by the defendant without the consent of the plaintiff.