973 377-2066

2 Ridgedale Avenue, Suite 202, Cedar Knolls, NJ, 07927

Legal Grounds For Divorce in New Jersey

Related Practice Areas

Mar 5, 2021

Legal Grounds For Divorce in New Jersey

Grounds For Divorce in New Jersey

The divorce process begins when a “Complaint for Divorce” document is completed. The family’s biographical information, the marriage assets, and most importantly, the reasons for divorce must be listed. The grounds for divorce listed will weigh heavily during the divorce process.

All states today allow no-fault divorce with grounds like irreconcilable differences. If you’re seeking a fault divorce, there are various marital misconduct to serve as legal grounds. In New Jersey, the choice of requesting a no-fault or fault divorce is up to you.

Here are the grounds for divorce in New Jersey and their qualifications.

No-Fault Grounds

Included here are irreconcilable differences, irretrievable breakdown, or 18 months of separation.

If a married couple lived in separate residences for 18 months, you could file under separation. This was the only no-fault provision for divorce in NJ before the irreconcilable differences statute.

To qualify for irreconcilable differences grounds, you must have 6 months of proof.


Though New Jersey no longer considers adultery a crime, it is still valid for divorce. This is a recourse for situations with extramarital sexual affairs during the marriage.

If you know the other party’s name in the affair, you must include it within your divorce complaint. This person can then serve as a “co-respondent.” You may allow them to defend against your allegation.

New Jersey divorce laws require you to be a resident for at least 1 year to file for divorce. This applies unless you discovered the affair before meeting the 1-year residency rule.


Desertion is grounds for divorce in New Jersey if your spouse has abandoned you.

This can mean moving out of the house and failing to return. It also pertains to sexual abandonment and refusal to engage in a marital relationship. To qualify, the period of abandonment must be at least 1 year.

Note that in New Jersey, physical desertion by moving out of the house does not waive your spouse’s right to the home’s value.

Extreme Cruelty

This is one of the more common fault grounds for divorce in NJ. To file under extreme cruelty, you must have a list of the instances you suffered during the marriage. You must include this list within the divorce complaint.

Examples include physical abuse, emotional abuse, and verbal forms of mistreatment. You also need to certify that the last act of extreme cruelty occurred 3 months before filing.


Addiction is grounds for divorce if your spouse has problems with substance abuse. To qualify, you must show evidence of your spouse’s drug or alcohol addiction. You also need to prove that they have been an addict for 1 year without seeking treatment.

The time frame will be reset if your spouse attempts to rehab within the year. You also need to meet the residency requirement to file under addiction. This can be one of the more difficult courses to pursue because of these qualifications.

Additional Grounds For Divorce

Apart from the legal grounds for divorce listed above, other complaints such as spouses’ irreconcilable differences, a spouse imprisoned or institutionalized for mental illness and devious sexual conduct can also be documented as grounds for divorce.

Consult About Your Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

As listed above, you see that there are various legal grounds for divorce in New Jersey. The best plan of action will depend on your individual circumstances.

To know your best course of action, it’s vital to consult with an expert family law divorce attorney. Since all grounds for divorce are different, you must choose a prominent attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with all types of complaints listed in a “Complaint for Divorce” document.

Feel free to get in touch with Dalena & Bosch Attorneys at Law. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.

Below we list a few articles that can help you through this difficult time.

6 Financial Consequences of Divorce and How It Can Effect You

How To Enforce Alimony Payments Arrears in NJ

Can I Divorce My Spouse Without Their Consent in NJ

Need Divorce Agreement Modification Due to a Lifestyle Change?

Strategies and How to Divorce a Narcissist and Win

Distinguished Morris County Divorce Lawyers

Elizabeth Dalena helped me through a very difficult divorce and I felt working with her was like working with a friend you can trust! Beth, thank you for your professionalism and helping me through this difficult time.
Michael Mastrogiacomo - March 2020
If you’ve been searching for an honest and empathetic attorney...someone you can trust while you navigate the difficult and emotional world of family law, then do yourself a favor and contact Beth Dalena & Jessica Bosch. You’ll be so glad you did.
Par 5 Consulting - March 2020
When you are in the painful and often frightening process of divorce, the women of this law firm bring you confidence and security with their knowledge and professionalism. They exhibit that rare combination of the willingness to hold your hand like a compassionate friend and defend you like a piranha in the courtroom when necessary. They exhibit dedication, and the grace and wisdom of their long term experience. They look…
Cindy Morhouse - February 2020
These ladies have helped me several times in my experience with them. Jessica was my divorce attorney and I can say without hesitation, she was professionally and personally a gift to me. She handled my case (adversarial at best) with grace and knowledge. A fighter when necessary. She handled me in my personal state as a friend. Compassionate and kind. Beth assisted me with rewriting my deed after my divorce…
Scarlett O - January 2020
I chose Jessica A. Bosch to represent me because she was compassionate and knowledgeable. My divorce was a long and difficult journey. During this time, I lost sight of what was really important. Jessica kept me grounded and focused on what would be best for me after the divorce. I am grateful for her help in protecting two very important financial things that I might have given up. I didn't…
Cynthia R - December 2019