A no-fault divorce is one that is granted without the need for either party to prove that the other person was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. In New Jersey, the no-fault action is based on a claim of irreconcilable differences. This means that at least one side contends that the divorce should be granted on the grounds that the marriage cannot be salvaged. 

Is There Another Choice besides a No-Fault Divorce? 

In addition to no-fault divorce, fault divorce is also available in New Jersey and other states. Fault divorce allows for people to file for divorce citing a reason. The motivation for a person to cite a specific fault when requesting a divorce might be to affect the way marital property is divided or how alimony is assigned. 

In some states, including New Jersey, the division of marital property will not be influenced by fault in a divorce case, but evidence proving who was at fault for the failure of the marriage may be considered when deciding the amount of alimony that should be paid. 

What Is Required in New Jersey for a No-Fault Divorce?

A no-fault divorce in New Jersey requires only that the parties have been separated or apart for 18 consecutive months. This is enough proof for the court that the marriage is ended. 

In No-Fault Divorce Cases, What Are Some Grounds Used in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the grounds for fault in divorce cases can be based on any of the following:

  • Irreconcilable differences; must be proved to have lasted at least six months
  • Extreme mental or physical cruelty
  • Adultery 
  • Desertion 
  • Constructive desertion
  • Drinking or drug problems
  • Imprisonment or institutionalism
  • Deviant sexual behavior

What Are the Benefits and Detriments of No-Fault Divorce?

Legislators in some states have sought to end no-fault divorce on the basis that doing so would do more to preserve families. There have been laws introduced to prevent couples with young children from obtaining a no-fault divorce. Other states have attempted to institute longer wait periods, mandatory counseling, or other measures to make a no-fault divorce harder to get.

However, many experts believe that these efforts largely work against family harmony and may, in fact, adversely affect children. The thinking is that when fault is part of the equation, the two parties are less able to cooperate in finding mutually agreeable terms for the divorce, and the parenting concerns that come with it. 

That said, proving that your former spouse was at fault can be helpful in setting terms for alimony, and in some states, for the division of property. There are no guarantees, however, and attempting to prove fault could taint the whole process, making the divorce more difficult than necessary, for potentially no reason, if the fault is unprovable. 

Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Represent Individuals Who Seek Fault or No-Fault Divorce

If you are considering divorce or have decided to move forward with plans to divorce, you may benefit from talking with a seasoned lawyer who can review your case and outline your best options. The Cherry Hill divorce lawyers at Burnham Douglass can help you understand the decisions to be made and the best way to approach negotiations. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.