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Technically, New Jersey is a hybrid divorce state. This means the family court may allow a petitioner to declare a fault-based or no-fault divorce. To qualify for either, there may be certain criteria you must meet. Follow along to find out the most commonly claimed fault grounds and how a proficient Bergen County divorce attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can help better decipher whether this is wise to petition for.

Is New Jersey a fault or no-fault divorce state?

For one, you may want to claim fault grounds in your divorce filing if you believe your spouse was majorly to blame for the breakdown of your marriage (i.e., they participated in a certain kind of misconduct). If you can prove your spouse’s fault successfully, you may arguably receive a preferable ruling in your final divorce decree. For example, if you can prove your spouse’s history of domestic violence, the court may lean towards granting you sole custody over your shared child.

On the other hand, you may want to file a no-fault divorce if you cannot pinpoint a solid reason behind the breakdown of your marriage. For example, you may argue it was due to your irreconcilable differences, in that you and your spouse have not gotten along for at least six months. Or, you may argue that it was due to your separation, in which you and your spouse lived in separate residences for at least 18 months. Ultimately, this may be the preferable option if you wish to remain amicable with your spouse post-divorce, along with if you do not want your child to witness highly-contested divorce proceedings.

What are the most commonly claimed fault grounds in a divorce?

As already mentioned above, domestic violence is a ground you may cite in your fault-based divorce. With this, you may have to demonstrate that your spouse exhibited behaviors of extreme cruelty (i.e., physical, mental, emotional, or financial abuse) at least three months before your divorce filing date. Further, you may have to show that their actions endangered the health and safety of you and your shared child. Other commonly claimed fault grounds, that may apply to your reasoning for divorce, read as follows:

  • You may claim that you caught your spouse committing adultery.
  • You may claim that you caught your spouse participating in deviant sexual behavior.
  • You may claim that your spouse deserted you and your shared child for at least 12 months.
  • You may claim that your spouse has been imprisoned for at least 18 months during your marriage.
  • You may claim that your spouse has an alcohol addiction or substance abuse issue that they are unwilling to resolve.

Arguably the most important action you must remember to take is hiring a talented Bergen County family law attorney. Our team at McNerney & McAuliffe looks forward to working with you.

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