Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce in NJ
- November 12, 2013
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As if understanding and navigating through a divorce is not already complicated and confusing enough in New Jersey, knowing how and what kind of divorce to file, fault or no-fault, can be perplexing. in 2007, New Jersey joined the majority of the other states in permitting its residents to file for no-fault divorces based upon irreconcilable differences. This change in the law afforded couples who were contemplating a divorce with a more expedient legal method of obtaining a divorce. Couples who file for a no-fault divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, simply have to allege that their marriage has broken down and that there is no reasonable expectation of a reconciliation. Before 2007, divorcing couples only had the option of filing for a fault based divorce, which means that one or both spouses had to allege that the other committed one of the statutorily enumerated harms or grounds for divorce against the other. Examples of these grounds include: adultery, physical abuse, willful desertion, continued drug or alcohol abuse, prolonged separation, and mental cruelty; amongst others, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A-34-2. Filing for a no fault divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, allows the parties to dissolve their marriage without being compelled to allege or defend against potentially embarrassing accusations. Further, if the parties choose to file for a no fault divorce they may avoid having to endure a lengthy trial which alleviates the emotional burdens that a trial could bring upon them, their children, and their families. All of the states currently allow couples to obtain a divorce based on either the no fault ground of irreconcilable differences or on the grounds of separation, but about two thirds of the states still recognize fault based divorces. These states allow a party to make fault based allegations against the other as the reason he or she is seeking to dissolve the marriage. Before any party considers whether he or she will seek a no fault or fault based divorce they should contemplate how each choice may affect them or their family. If you or someone you know is considering filing for a divorce in New Jersey you or they should seek out the advice of an experienced attorney. For more information about divorce, contested divorce, uncontested divorce, alimony, custody, child support or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com and NJCivilUnionLaw.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.