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New Jersey Divorce Laws

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New Jersey Divorce Laws

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:

To file for a divorce, either party must be a resident of the state for a period of a least one year preceding the filing of the complaint. A divorce may be filed in the county where either party resides. The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction of all causes of divorce, bed and board divorce, or nullity when either party is a bona fide resident of this State. [Based on New Jersey Statutes 2A:34-8 and 2A:34-10]

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

A divorce will be granted on the following grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for more than one year.
  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Living separate and apart for at least 18 month.
  • Addiction or habitual drunkenness for more than 12 months preceding the filing of the complaint.
  • Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 during the marriage and 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.

[Based on New Jersey Statutes 2A:34-2]

LEGAL SEPARATION:

A divorce from bed and board may be granted on the same grounds as a divorce from matrimony. In all actions where a judgment of divorce from bed and board is entered the court may make such award or awards to the parties, in addition to alimony and maintenance, to effectuate an equitable distribution of the property, both real and personal, which was legally and beneficially acquired by them or either of them during the marriage. [Based on New Jersey Statutes 2A:34-3 and 2A:34-23]

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS:

The court shall order every person who has filed an action for divorce, nullity or separate maintenance where the custody, visitation or support of the minor child is an issue to attend the "Parents' Education Program". Each party shall attend separate sessions of the program. [Based on New Jersey Statutes 2A:34-12.5]

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

New Jersey is and equitable distribution state, meaning that the marital estate will be distributed in an equitable, but not necessarily equal, manner. In making an equitable distribution of property, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The income or property brought to the marriage by each party.
  • The standard of living established during the marriage.
  • Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning an arrangement of property distribution.
  • The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective.
  • The income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.
  • The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other.
  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker.
  • The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party.
  • The present value of the property.
  • The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence and to use or own the household effects.
  • The debts and liabilities of the parties.
  • The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse or children.
  • The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals.
  • Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

Separate property, real, personal or otherwise, legally or beneficially acquired during the marriage by either party by way of gift, devise, or intestate succession shall not be subject to equitable distribution, except that interspousal gifts shall be subject to equitable distribution. [Based on New Jersey Statutes 2A:34-23 and 2A:34-23.1]

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

In all actions brought for divorce, divorce from bed and board, or nullity the court may award one or more of the following types of alimony: permanent alimony; rehabilitative alimony; limited duration alimony or reimbursement alimony to either party. In so doing the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

  • The actual need and ability of the parties to pay.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The age, physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The standard of living established in the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living.
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.
  • The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance.
  • The parental responsibilities for the children.
  • The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.
  • The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities.
  • The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair.
  • The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party.
  • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment.
  • Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

[Based on New Jersey Divorce Statutes 2A:34-23]

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