Overview of Divorce in New Jersey

The following is an overview of divorce in New Jersey. Divorce in New Jersey may be filed on a number of grounds including adultery, desertion and separation, with property divided equitably and spouse and child support determined by a number of factors.

Residency and Filing Requirements

At least one party must be a resident of New Jersey for one year, and continue to be a bona fide resident of the state before filing for Divorce in New Jersey.

Grounds for Filing

The following are recognized as grounds for divorce in New Jersey: adultery, desertion for 12 or more months, extreme cruelty (physical or mental), separation by mutual consent for 18 or more months, abuse of narcotics, institutionalization for mental illness for 24 or more consecutive months since marriage but before filing, imprisonment for 24 or more consecutive months since marriage but before filing, and deviant sexual conduct without consent of the plaintiff. Consult with an attorney for more information about your specific situation.

Property Distribution

New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. Property shall be divided equitably, but equitable does not mean equally. If the parties can’t reach a settlement on property and debt issues then the court will decide, considering the duration of the marriage, the age and 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 agreements between the parties, the earning capacity of each party, child custody, debt and liabilities of both parties, extent to which a party deferred achieving their goals, and any other factors the court considers relevant.

Spousal Support

The obligation of one spouse to support the other, temporarily or permanently, is decided on a case-by-case basis, as agreed by both parties or at the court’s discretion. The court may award permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony, limited duration alimony or reimbursement alimony to either party. The court will consider the ability of the parties to pay, duration of marriage, age and health of the parties, earning capacities, length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance, parental responsibilities, time and expense necessary to acquire adequate education or training in order to find employment, the history of financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party, and any other factors the court deems relevant.

Child Custody and Support

If the parents fail to agree on child custody, the court will determine custody. Sole or joint custody will be awarded, based on the physical, emotional religious and daily needs of the children, and the child’s wishes, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity. Other factors may be considered at the court’s discretion.

Child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support, which is proportional but weighs other factors as well.

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