Does misconduct affect the result of a divorce in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Divorce |

Not all divorces end amicably. In fact, many marriages end in divorce due to infidelity and domestic abuse. For this reason, parties file divorce petitions on different grounds, some citing misconduct, and others leaving it out.

Under no-fault grounds: No

If divorcing parties choose to petition for the marriage’s dissolution under irreconcilable differences, any accusations of misconduct hold no weight during the proceedings. This means that the outcome of the divorce, including custody, spousal and child support and property division, will not change whether or not there is a wrongdoing.

However, note that there are specific requirements before parties can file for divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences in New Jersey. This includes the following conditions:

  • Either spouse must have resided in the state for 12 consecutive months before the divorce petition
  • The spouses must have experienced irreconcilable differences for at least six months
  • The irreconcilable differences warrant the marriage’s dissolution
  • The spouses can no longer reconcile

If the parties meet these requirements, they can file for divorce without faulting the other party.

Under fault grounds: Yes

New Jersey allows separating spouses to file for divorce under fault grounds. This means the misconduct is the nature of the divorce. The fault grounds divorcing parties may state in their petition are the following:

  • Separation: Spouses living apart for at least a year and a half can file for divorce under the ground of separation.
  • Extreme cruelty: A party can file for divorce under this ground if physical or mental cruelty existed in the marriage, and no petition for divorce exists until after three months of the last act of cruelty.
  • Other grounds: Parties may file for divorce under other fault grounds, such as adultery, extended incarceration and institutionalization of their spouse.

Divorce is a maze. The process gets more complicated as the court starts examining every nook of the marriage. As a divorce party, it is essential to determine which path will do you more good. Discussing your needs with a knowledgeable and compassionate legal professional can help you navigate the divorce process.