NEW JERSEY DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: Either spouse must be a resident of New Jersey for at least one year prior to the filing for divorce, or if the cause of divorce is adultery and took place in New Jersey, one of the spouses must be a resident at the time of filing.
No fault: Irreconcilable differences lasting at least six months, with no hope of reconciliation.*
Fault: Adultery; Willful and continued desertion for at least one year; Living separate and apart for 18 months with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation; Extreme cruelty; Alcohol or drug abuse for more than a year; Institutionalization for mental illness for two or more years; Imprisonment for 18 months or more; Deviant sexual conduct, without the consent of the plaintiff.
New Jersey also allows a "divorce from bed and board," an intermediate step between marriage and absolute divorce that leaves the couples divorced financially while remaining married.
Property Division: New Jersey is an equitable-distribution, dual-classification state. That means property is classified as either separate or marital; separate property must go to the property owner, while marital property is divided between the parties “equitably.” Equitable means fairly, based on how the parties acquired and treated the property during the marriage; it does not mean equally. Twenty-two factors are considered by the court, including: How long you were married; the spouses’ ages and physical and emotional health; the income or property you brought to the marriage; how to spouses have contributed to the education, training and earning power of each other; if one of you had put off achieving educational or career goals because of the marriage (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce).
Alimony: Either party may request and be awarded alimony without regard to marital fault. New Jersey considers four kinds of alimony: permanent, rehabilitative (for training or education to become self supporting), limited time and reimbursement (as a payback for the financial support given during the marriage). In awarding alimony, the court may consider, among other things: the length of the marriage; the actual needs and the ability of the spouse to pay; how long a party was out of the job market; how much training or education it would take to become self supporting; how the marital property was divided; income from investments.
Child custody and support: As in every state, child custody is awarded according to "the best interests of the child." There is no preference for either parent, and no preference for joint custody. To decide the best interests of the child, the court may consider:
- The fitness of the parents
- The needs of the child
- The parents' ability to cooperate in decisions concerning the child
- The child’s relationship with the parents and siblings
- Any history of domestic violence
- The wishes of the child, if of sufficient age and capacity to state a preference.
- The quality and the opportunity for continuity in the child's education.
- The distance between the parents’ homes.
New Jersey child-support guidelines are based on an income-shares model: the total obligation is divided between the mother and father according to their incomes.
There are many, many factors that go into the child support formula, including the incomes of the parents and various child related expenses. To help you figure child support in your case, you can go to: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/csguide/index.htm
You can also click the following for an expert's overview and list of articles on child custody and child support.
* New Jersey’s no-fault divorce law was signed by Governor Jon S. Corzine in 2007. Gov. Corzine was divorced from his wife of 33 years in 2003.
Disclaimer: The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.