What are the grounds for divorce in New Jersey?
You can file for divorce in New Jersey based on any of the following reasons (grounds):
- Irreconcilable differences – When there has been a breakdown of the marriage based on a failure to get along for a period of 6 months or more and there is no reasonable belief of reconciliation.
- Adultery - when your spouse cheats on you.
- Abandonment - when your spouse left your house for 12 months or more.
- Extreme cruelty - when your spouse treated you in a way that endangered your life or health or made it unbearable for you to live with him/her (such as physical or mental cruelty). (Note: If you are filing for divorce based on this, you have to wait at least three months after the last incident of cruelty. If you are including this ground in your counter-claim to your spouse’s divorce petition, you do not have to wait those three months; you can include this ground even if the last cruel incident happened yesterday.)
- Separation – when you and your spouse don’t live together anymore in the same house for a term of at least 18 consecutive months or more and there is no reasonable belief of reconciliation between you both.
- Addiction to drugs or habitual drunkenness for a period of 12 or more consecutive months after marriage and prior to filing for divorce.
- Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months after marriage and prior to filing for divorce.
- Imprisonment - Your spouse was sentenced to go to jail for 18 or more consecutive months after marriage. If you file for divorce after your spouse has been released from jail, you also have to show that you and your spouse have not lived together after s/he was released from jail.
- If your spouse commits “deviant sexual conduct” on you without your consent. (Note: This term is not well-defined in New Jersey law - if you are unsure if you meet this ground, please talk to an attorney for advice.)1
1 N.J.S.A. § 2A:34-2