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Filing for Divorce in New Jersey

Before you consider filing for divorce in New Jersey, it is extremely important to realize that according to the laws of New Jersey, you must meet certain residency requirements. Furthermore, the length of time you are required to live here before filing for divorce in New Jersey depends on why you are getting divorced.

In 1971 New Jersey adopted the Uniform Divorce and Marriage Act. This Act introduced "no fault" divorce to New Jersey. Instead of having to prove your spouse engaged in misconduct, such as abuse or alcoholism, to be divorced, the Act instituted divorce on the grounds of 18-month separation. Irreconcilable differences has since been added as a grounds for divorce, which does not require having lived separately. The majority of divorces in New Jersey are now filed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

The "no fault grounds" for divorce in New Jersey, along with almost all of the fault-based grounds, require that you have lived in New Jersey for at least a year prior to filing for divorce. This can pose an obstacle for military service members or other individuals who have recently relocated to New Jersey and, for good reason, do not wish to wait to file for divorce. There is, however, one exception to the one-year residency requirement before filing for divorce in New Jersey that is often overlooked, and that is adultery. When filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery, as long as one or both parties reside in New Jersey at the time the divorce is being filed, there is no requirement that you have lived in New Jersey for one year.

Obtaining a divorce on the grounds of adultery can be complex because of the proof that is required. It may not be your best option. If residency is an issue for you, however, it is something you should discuss with competent matrimonial lawyers to get advice on your personal situation. There is nothing more frustrating than filing for divorce to find out you have not met the residency requirement of New Jersey.

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