If you intend to serve your spouse with divorce papers, you likely have to give a reason as to why. This is otherwise known as citing grounds for divorce. Continue reading to learn what grounds are commonly claimed and how an experienced Bergen County divorce attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can help you decide which path to take.
What are common grounds for divorce in the state of New Jersey?
In a fault divorce, you are essentially placing blame on your spouse for the ultimate breakdown of your marriage. This is why grounds are commonly cited in a contested, litigated divorce. Examples of claims that may apply to you and your situation are as follows:
- You may claim that your spouse became addicted to drugs or alcohol once you got married.
- You may claim that your spouse became incarcerated for an extensive period.
- You may claim that your spouse became institutionalized for an extensive period.
- You may claim that your spouse abandoned you for an extensive period.
- You may claim that your spouse exhibited extreme cruelty toward you.
- You may claim that your spouse committed adultery during your marriage.
- You may claim that your spouse participated in deviant sexual conduct during your marriage.
Of note, your cited grounds may or may not influence the New Jersey family court’s ruling on your divorce-related terms, such as property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody. That is, many other external factors will go into their decision.
However, your grounds for divorce may be factored in if it has to do with your and your child’s immediate safety. For example, if you claim that your spouse has a history of extreme cruelty, the court may not find joint custody to be in the best interest of your child.
Lastly, it is not enough to simply make these claims. But you must also provide the court with a sufficient amount of evidence that proves its truth.
What if I do not want to claim grounds?
It is worth mentioning that New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state. This means you are not required to cite fault grounds for a divorce, but rather claim “irreconcilable differences.”
To be eligible for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must remain separate for at least 18 months before filing. From here, you may even choose to undergo an alternative divorce method, such as mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce. This may further promote the chances that you and your spouse may remain amicable after the termination of your marriage.
Regarding your divorce petition, there is no time like the present to get started. So please reach out to a skilled Bergen County family law attorney from McNerney & McAuliffe at your earliest possible convenience.