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New Jersey Divorce Facts
When going through a divorce in in New Jersey, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of New Jersey should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of New Jersey Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified New Jersey Divorce Professional.
New Jersey requires one spouse to be a resident of the state for at least one year before the filing date. Exceptions apply when a divorce is filed on the fault ground of adultery. When the ground is adultery, at least one spouse must be a New Jersey resident, but a petitioner may initiate proceedings at any time and they are usually filed in the petitioner's county of residence. If the petitioner wasn't living in the state at the time of the cause of action, the complaint is filed in the county where the respondent spouse resides.
No-fault grounds in New Jersey means the couple lived apart without hope of reconciliation. If a divorce is filed on no-fault grounds, New Jersey requires a couple to be separated for at least 18 months prior to the filing for divorce. The married couple must live in separate residences during this time.
Filing on grounds of fault waives the separation requirement applied to no-fault divorces. New Jersey law sets forth seven "fault" grounds for divorce, including extreme cruelty, adultery, abandonment, substance or alcohol addiction, institutionalization, deviant sexual conduct and incarceration.
Division of the marital estate in New Jersey is equitable. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing community property, but it must consider how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse to include education, job skills, work experience and any lengthy absence away from the workplace, such as time taken to take care of the couple's children, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals.
New Jersey has five types of spousal support. Rehabilitative alimony is a short-term monetary award that allows a spouse to go back to school or obtain training to re-enter the workforce. Limited duration alimony is awarded in cases of a short marriage when rehabilitative alimony doesn't apply but the circumstances of the divorce justify that one spouse receive some type of support. Reimbursement alimony is awarded when one spouse makes a personal sacrifice so that the other spouse could receive professional or career training. This alimony is limited in nature, and may include the cost of household expenses and the cost of the spouse's education. Alimony pendent lite is awarded when a divorce is pending so that both parties can maintain their current standard of living until a final judgment is made.
New Jersey is one of few states that still award permanent alimony, which lasts for the duration of the obligor's lifetime. This is awarded when a marriage is at least 10 years in duration and one spouse has become economically dependent on the other. Permanent alimony permits the obligee to maintain the lifestyle to which he or she has become accustomed.
In New Jersey, a separation agreement is any legal document signed by both spouses outlining the terms of the separation. Subjects resolved in a separation agreement can include child support, child custody, debt allocation and asset distribution. Notarizing the document ensures its validity.
Court proceedings are not necessary in New Jersey for legally recognized separation agreements. Thus, anyone can write a separation agreement. For people who desire legal counsel for the separation, attorneys in New Jersey can assist with the document. In addition, spouses wanting child support during the separation period must file a claim with the New Jersey probation department.
If a couple wants to file for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey a legal separation lasting at least 18 months is required. However, either spouse can file for divorce under other grounds without a prior legal separation.
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