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Before filing for divorce in New Jersey, either spouse must have been a resident of the State for at least one year. In a case where adultery is the grounds for divorce, there is no time limit if one spouse is a resident of the state.
b. Willful and continued desertion for the term of 12 or more months, which may be established by satisfactory proof that the parties have ceased to cohabit as man and wife;
c. Extreme cruelty, which is defined as including any physical or mental cruelty which endangers the safety or health of the plaintiff or makes it improper or unreasonable to expect the plaintiff to continue to cohabit with the defendant; provided that no complaint for divorce shall be filed until after 3 months from the date of the last act of cruelty complained of in the complaint, but this provision shall not be held to apply to any counterclaim;
d. Separation, provided that the husband and wife have lived separate and apart in different habitations for a period of at least 18 or more consecutive months and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation; provided, further that after the 18-month period there shall be a presumption that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation;
e. Voluntarily induced addiction or habituation to any narcotic drug as defined in the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, P.L.1970, c. 226 or habitual drunkenness for a period of 12 or more consecutive months subsequent to marriage and next preceding the filing of the complaint;
f. Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months subsequent to marriage and next preceding the filing of the complaint;
g. Imprisonment of the defendant for 18 or more consecutive months after marriage, provided that where the action is not commenced until after the defendant's release, the parties have not resumed cohabitation following such imprisonment;
h. Deviant sexual conduct voluntarily performed by the defendant without the consent of the plaintiff.
i. Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. (cf: P.L.1971, c.217, s.11)
The courts in New Jersey will award custody based on the preservation of the best interests of the child. The court will keep factors such as the parents’ ability to make important decisions regarding the child in an appropriate manner, and the relationship of the child with his or her siblings, school and community in mind when making custody decisions. If the child is sufficiently mature, the court will consider his or her preferences when determining child custody. If both parties agree to a custody arrangement which ensures the best interests of the child are met, the court will order the custody arrangement.
New Jersey’s child support guidelines apply in virtually every case, unless special circumstances are present. Both parties’ gross incomes as well as certain child related expenses are taken into consideration when calculating child support obligation. The child support payments will continue until the child reaches eighteen years of age, and may extend through the child’s secondary education.
New Jersey’s Superior Court has jurisdiction for all divorce actions initiated in the state.
At any time the parties may agree to submit the disputed issues to mediation. If the parties are able to reach an agreement, they may proceed in court on an uncontested basis.