In order for a New Jersey Court to have jurisdiction over a divorce matter or over the dissolution of a civil union, generally, at least one party must have resided in the State of New Jersey for one (1) entire year prior to filing the Complaint. The purpose of this residency requirement is to prevent parties from jurisdiction shopping or forum shopping. Essentially, the desire is to prevent parties from simply moving across state lines in order to obtain a divorce without having been a resident of the state for a sufficient period of time.
However, there is one exception to New Jersey’s one (1) year residency requirement, which is for cases of adultery. In cases of adultery, the one (1) year residency requirement need not be met. In particular, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-10 provides as follows: “no action for absolute divorce or dissolution of a civil union shall be commenced for any cause other than adultery, unless one of the parties has been for 1 year next preceding the commencement of the action a bona fide resident of this State.”
Therefore, in order to file a complaint for divorce or for the dissolution of a civil union on any ground other than adultery (i.e. irreconcilable differences, extreme cruelty, etc.), at least one of the parties must have resided in New Jersey for one year.