New Jersey Divorce Laws

Divorce in NJ

If you’re seeking a divorce in New Jersey, the first step is to file a Complaint for Divorce. This must be served on your spouse by a sheriff or process server, an attorney, or through their acknowledgment of receipt via certified mail. This cannot simply be sent in the post unless they have signed a notarized document that states that this is acceptable and satisfactory to them.
Your spouse then has 35 days to respond. If no response is received, your matter can proceed without them and you’ll be eligible for a default divorce. On the other hand, if they do respond, then your case is contested, requiring you to gather evidence, negotiate with your spouse, and potentially build your case for trial. If it proves impossible to reach an agreement, the court will make a final decision after conducting a trial.

New Jersey Divorce Requirements

The state of New Jersey requires that individuals be within state lines in order to file for divorce. These residency requirements also state that at least one individual must be a state resident for a minimum of one year before a divorce can be petitioned.

New Jersey divorceLaws also require the individual or individuals to reside within the state for the duration of the divorce case. If both individuals reside in New Jersey for the minimum requirements but live in separate counties, either individual may file for divorce in his or her county.

New Jersey Grounds for Divorce

The United States requires that those filing for divorce state why they wish for a divorce to be granted. The reasons for filing for divorce are called the grounds for divorce and are different in each state.

The grounds for divorce in another state may not be legal in the state of New Jersey. Upon filing for divorce both individuals will decide upon which grounds of divorce they agree and present them to the court. One individual is also lawful to present grounds for divorce but will be required to prove those grounds before the court.

Unlike other states, New Jersey does not break its grounds for divorce into separate categories.

New Jersey grounds for divorce include committing adultery by either individual; the continued and willful deserting of at least twelve months or more with proof of no cohabitation for that time period; the causing of extreme cruelty, both mental and physical, that may endanger the other individual’s health with a three-month minimum; separation for a minimum of eighteen consecutive months with not hope of reconcile; voluntary addiction to a controlled substance or habitual drunken behavior for at least twelve months before a petition is filed; entering a mental institution for at least twenty-four months prior to filing for divorce; conviction for imprisonment for at least eighteen months resulting in no cohabitation; and voluntary sexual actions without spousal permission.

The grounds for divorce on drug-based reasons will need to be stated in the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act of 1970.

Filing for Divorce

All documents and forms of divorce are to be filed to the county clerk’s office. Upon a divorce hearing the clerk’s office will present the documents to the court. The documents can be as many as twenty for one divorce, but also depends on the circumstances of the divorce.

Some of the documents can include a Complaint for Divorce and Judgment of Divorce, a Financial Statement for Summary Support Actions form, a Cover letter to Clerk form, a Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act form, a Case Information Sheet, and an Appearance form.

Filing with the Court in New Jersey

You must file your New Jersey divorce papers in the court located in the County where you presently reside. We will provide the court information in the documents that we send to you, but some of the courts in New Jersey are listed below:

  • Essex County Superior Court – Family Division:
    Robert N. Wilentz Court Complex 212 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07102 Phone: (973)693-5701
  • Mercer County Superior Court: Mercer County Courthouse:
    175 South Broad Street Trenton, NJ 08650-0068 Phone: (609) 571-4000
  • Camden County Superior Court:
    Hall of Justice 101 South 5th Street Camden NJ 08103 Phone: (856) 379-2200
  • Hudson County Superior Court:
    William J. Brennan, Jr. Courthouse 583 Newark Avenue Jersey City, NJ 07306 Phone: (201)795-6000

If your County court is not listed, the information for your court will be included in the divorce papers we send you.

Distributing Property

The state of New Jersey is considered to be an equitable distribution state where all the property obtained through marriage is to be distributed in a fair manner rather than an equal manner.

If the individuals involved cannot decide on who should keep which form of property, the court will award the property to each individual based on child custody, economic status, employment, and others.


Commonly asked questions regarding divorce laws in New Jersey cover various crucial aspects. Here are some frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers:

What are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?

New Jersey allows for both no-fault and fault-based divorces. No-fault divorces are typically based on irreconcilable differences, with the couple having lived separate and apart for at least 18 consecutive months. Fault-based grounds might include adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty, imprisonment, addiction, or deviant sexual conduct.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in New Jersey?

The time required to finalize a divorce in New Jersey varies based on court schedules, the complexity of the case, and whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. Generally, it can take several months to over a year.

How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in New Jersey?

New Jersey follows the principle of equitable distribution. Marital property and debts are divided fairly, though not necessarily equally, based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and their contributions during the marriage.

Does New Jersey Have Alimony (Spousal Support)?

Yes, New Jersey allows for spousal support. The court may award temporary or long-term support based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and their contributions during the marriage.

How Does New Jersey Handle Child Custody and Support?

Child custody decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. New Jersey courts consider various factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to provide for the child, and the child’s wishes (if they’re of sufficient age). Child support is determined using the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.

Do We Need to Go to Court for a Divorce in New Jersey?

If both parties can agree on all terms of the divorce, they might not need to go to court. Uncontested divorces can often be settled through paperwork and negotiation outside of court. However, if disputes persist, a court appearance might be necessary.

Can I Modify a Divorce Decree in New Jersey?

Modifications to child support, child custody, or spousal support are possible under certain circumstances if there’s a substantial change in circumstances. Legal procedures are typically required for modifications.

These questions address common concerns individuals have when navigating divorce in New Jersey. As each case is unique, seeking legal advice is recommended to understand individual circumstances and receive accurate guidance throughout the divorce process.

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