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Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey


By Theodore Sliwinski, Esquire

In order to file for a divorce in New Jersey, either spouse must have been a resident of the State for at least one year prior to the filing of the action. The only exception to the one year residency requirement is when the grounds for divorce are for adultery. In cases of adultery the requirement is that at least one spouse must be a New Jersey resident. In New Jersey there are eight grounds or causes to file for divorce. The three most popular grounds are extreme cruelty, no-fault separation, and adultery. Remember, the grounds of extreme cruelty are really just a "term of art" and it really does not mean that your spouse was extremely cruel.

No-Fault Divorce Cause of Action
Separation is New Jersey's only no-fault ground for divorce. To qualify under this grounds, both the husband and wife must have lived separately, in different houses (and not only different rooms) for a period of at least eighteen consecutive months. Moreover, in order to qualify for the no-fault divorce, there must not be a reasonable expectation of reconciliation. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2A(d).

Fault Divorce Causes of Action
Extreme cruelty includes any physical or mental cruelty which makes it improper or unreasonable to expect that individual to cohabitate with their spouse. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(c). The courts are very liberal as to what type of conduct constitutes extreme cruelty.

Adultery
The courts have held that "adultery exists when one spouse rejects the other by entering into a personal intimate relationship with any other person, irrespective of the specific sexual acts performed; the rejection of the spouse coupled with out-of-marriage intimacy constitutes adultery." New Jersey Court Rule 5:4-2 requires that the plaintiff in an adultery divorce case, state the name of the person with whom the offending conduct was committed. This person is known as the corespondent. If the name is not known, the person who files must give as much information as possible tending to describe the adulterer.

Desertion
The willful and continuous desertion by one party for a period of twelve or more months, and satisfactory proof that the parties have ceased to cohabit as man and wife constitutes desertion under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(b). It is important to note that the parties may live in the same house. The crucial element here is "as man and wife." Thus, desertion may be claimed after twelve or more months of lack of absent sexual relations.

Addiction
Under N.S.J.A 2A:34-2(e), addiction involves a dependence on a narcotic or other controlled, dangerous substance, or a habitual drunkenness for a period of twelve or more consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of the complaint. The evidence must show that the use of alcohol and drugs was persistent and substantial. This is not a common ground for divorce.

Institutionalization
When one spouse has been institutionalized for mental illness for a period of twelve or more consecutive months subsequent to the marriage and preceding the filing of the complaint, institutionalization is a ground for divorce under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(f). The primary issue in this ground for divorce is whether or not the spouse is able to function as a working partner in the marriage.

Imprisonment
Imprisonment as a ground for divorce occurs when a spouse has been imprisoned for eighteen or more months after the marriage. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(g). Moreover, the parties must not have resumed cohabitation after the imprisonment.

Deviant Sexual Conduct
Deviant Sexual Conduct occurs if the defendant engages in deviant sexual conduct without the consent of the plaintiff spouse. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(h).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Theodore Sliwinski, Esquire, dedicates his practice to providing quality and very affordable legal services to the public. He believes that everyone should be able to afford quality legal services. He has twenty-one years of legal experience and has handled hundreds of divorces, bankruptcies, traffic violations, and criminal and civil cases. He is headquartered in central New Jersey. Affordability, accessibility, responsiveness and personal commitment is what every client receives.

Mr. Sliwinski can be contacted by phone at (732) 257-0708 or
or Visit Web Site


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