Filing for Divorce in New Jersey, Which Honors Fault and No Fault Divorces

Read on to learn more about fault and no-fault divorces, whether New Jersey is a no-fault state, and how to file for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey.

Filing for Divorce in New Jersey, Which Honors Fault and No-Fault DivorcesThere are a myriad of reasons that two people may decide to legally terminate their marriage. Some of these decisions to end the marriage result in an amicable divorce proceeding, whereas others are much more conflict-ridden. According to New Jersey law, spouses can file for divorce citing specific reasons for the downfall of the marriage, or they can withhold specifics. These are called fault divorces and no-fault divorces.

Is New Jersey a no-fault state?

Because New Jersey divorcing partners are able to file for divorce citing the fault of the other partner, the state is not a pure no-fault state (meaning that there are no fault-based divorce cases in the state). That said, there is the possibility that a spouse may file for divorce citing no fault of the other spouse for the cause of the divorce.

How is a no-fault divorce different from a fault divorce?

What would be the reason for citing no-fault in a New Jersey divorce? Well, one of the main incentives that a spouse has for filing for divorce without naming infidelity or other unacceptable ‘fault’ as the reason for the divorce is that the divorce process itself is a lot more peaceful and a lot more private. When a specific fault is named as the reason for the divorce, the couple has the potential of experiencing much more public shaming, as court documents and testimony details are public domain. While the New Jersey Family Court does not take fault into consideration with confirming the division of assets, the fact that fault was involved may affect their determination of alimony payments, causing an increase in the amount owed if the ‘innocent’ party is seeking alimony, and a potential decrease in amount owed if the ‘culpable’ party is seeking alimony.

In general, fault divorces can be particularly difficult on children who are involved in the legal separation, who can experience long-term adverse socio-emotional effects of an explosive divorce that is based on fault.

When a couple files for divorce in New Jersey citing no-fault, they are divorcing for one of two reasons:

  • irreconcilable differences
  • separation

Irreconcilable differences mean that the couple no longer functions well together, and there is not a chance that they will work out their differences and come back together. Divorces citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ in New Jersey are more and more common as couples who are simply no longer suitable partners, yet who have families on whom they are attempting to make the burden less heavy, are choosing the no-fault route to exit the marriage as seamlessly as possible.

A divorce pursued on the grounds of separation takes a bit of a different approach than that filed for irreconcilable differences. In order to divorce on the grounds of separation, you must show that you and your spouse have been living apart for at least one and a half years (18 months), as well as demonstrating evidence that you are not going to be getting back together.

How do I file for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey?

As noted above, filing for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of separation requires a demonstration to the Court that you and your spouse have spent 18 months living in separate abodes, and there is no real chance of reconciliation between you and your partner. If you and your partner have not lived separately for such an extensive amount of time, you can still file for a no-fault divorce Irreconcilable Differences Divorce Attorneys based on irreconcilable differences. In order to do so, you must prove that

  • you and/or your spouse have lived in New Jersey for at least the past consecutive year before which you filed for divorce
  • you and your spouse have had irreconcilable differences that you have been navigating for at least half that year
  • you and your spouse have had irreconcilable differences that have destroyed the reasonability of the marriage are incompatible with remaining together as a legally wed couple
  • the differences are truly irreconcilable, and there is no chance of reconciliation between you two

Are you considering filing for divorce based on irreconcilable differences in NJ? Contact our Attorneys for Help

Regardless of how amicable you and your ex are, it is essential that you have the skilled support of an experienced family law attorney on your side. At The Montanari Law Group, LLC we understand how important it is to facilitate a respectful divorce experience while serving your best interests in reaching a resolution. We assist clients with determining whether to pursue a no-fault or fault-based divorce and navigating the challenges of the legal process in Bloomingdale, Clifton, Paramus, Fort Lee, Ridgefield Park, and neighboring places in Passaic, Essex, and Bergen Counties.

Contact us online or call our office today at (973) 233-4396 to explore pursuing a fault or no fault divorce with one of our skilled divorce attorneys. A member of our team is available to assist you in a free consultation or to schedule an appointment at our New Jersey office.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.