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What Are Grounds In a Fault-Based Divorce?

When you get a divorce in New Jersey, you can decide to file for a fault-based divorce. You can give a specific reason why your marriage is ending and why you are filing. You don’t have to do this though, even when there is a good reason to ask for a divorce. Our Morris County, NJ divorce lawyers can tell you more about your options.

What Reasons Can I Use for a Fault-Based Divorce?

Certain types of behaviors and misconduct can make it difficult to stay married to someone. If your partner has engaged in any of the following behaviors, you could file for a fault-based divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Acts of extreme cruelty
  • Desertion for a year or more
  • Deviant sexual behavior
  • Being sentenced to incarceration or institutionalization for an extended period

As you can see, some of these require your spouse to engage in a certain behavior for a specific amount of time. A good example of this is desertion, which can only be used as fault after 12 months have passed. This can also apply to issues like drug or alcohol addiction. If your spouse has done nothing to address the problem within a year, then it can be used as the reason for your fault-based divorce.

Some of these reasons do not require a waiting time. Adultery is one of them, as is extreme cruelty. The state would not expect you to continue living with your spouse and continuing the relationship in those types of scenarios.

Is It Worthwhile to File For Fault-Based Divorce?

When you file for a fault-based divorce, you do have to build a case and show that your spouse engaged in bad behavior. This means gathering evidence and arguing in front of a judge. Is this worth it to you? That’s really up to you to decide. Just keep in mind that a fault-based divorce can take more time and add some complications to the process. We recommend talking to one of our attorneys and asking for their advice before you decide whether a no-fault or fault-based divorce is the right move.

Does Fault Affect Alimony or Other Divorce Negotiations?

Another reason why you may not want to bother filing for a fault-based divorce is that it is unlikely to have much of an effect on your divorce negotiations. The court is unlikely to consider your spouse’s misconduct when deciding matters like property division.

However, if you can show that your spouse’s faults caused them to squander shared assets, that could affect alimony negotiations. If your spouse could be a danger to others, that may affect child custody agreements. Every case is different and there are sometimes good reasons to file for a fault-based divorce.

Contact Our Law Firm

If you are considering filing for divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about how our attorneys can be of assistance. Divorce negotiations can be tough on your own, but having an experienced attorney advocate for you could make the process less stressful.