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What’s The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce?

Does it make a difference which type of divorce you choose? The answer is a resounding “yes." Learn more in this article.

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Do you know the difference between a fault and no-fault divorce in New Jersey? Does it make a difference which type of divorce you choose? The answer is a resounding “yes,” and understanding this distinction can be vital for you to make informed decisions and start down the path toward your new future. 

To help answer your questions, we’ve put together all the essential information that anyone considering divorce needs to know about their options. We discuss what types of divorces are available to how they might affect aspects of your marriage dissolution. 

The Basics: The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce in NJ 

Let’s get one misconception out of the way—whether you’re seeking a fault or no-fault divorce in New Jersey, you still must have valid grounds for the dissolution of your marriage. The difference between the two types of divorce lies in these grounds. It is important to remember that a skilled divorce attorney will help you to navigate these distinctions in New Jersey law.

In a no-fault divorce, the person seeking the divorce only has to show that the couple is separated or that they have irreconcilable differences. In this case, the two parties both establish that neither of them is “at fault.” Because of this, divorcing spouses may prefer a no-fault divorce because it’s generally easier to obtain than a fault-based divorce.

Reasons for a Fault Divorce in New Jersey 

In a fault-based divorce, one or both of the spouses has committed some act of wrongdoing. This activity has to be proven in court. According to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2, these are the reasons for a fault-based divorce:

It’s important to remember that all of these accusations must be proven in court. Simply making the accusation isn’t enough to prove fault. For this reason, you should absolutely retain a Smedley Law Group family law attorney with experience in fault-based divorces to help with your case. The accusations can have a serious impact on the court’s decision. such as child custody or alimony.

The Requirements for a No-Fault Divorce in NJ 

If you have no accusations for a fault-based divorce, you may still file for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey. However, you will have to meet all of the following requirements:

Another ground for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey is separation. If you plan to show the court that your marriage should be dissolved for this reason, then you need to have been living apart for 18 or more months and there’s no chance of a reconciliation with your spouse. This is why it’s recommended for separated couples to try joint therapy to see if there’s a way to save their marriage first.

The Benefits of No-Fault Divorce in New Jersey 

There are several benefits of choosing a no-fault divorce, as opposed to a fault-based one. The first of which is that it’s generally easier, as you don’t have to prove any allegations against your spouse. 

This also means that you don’t have to publicly air out your family’s dirty laundry or respond to accusations in an open court. These details are part of the public record and may eventually reach your children. 

Another benefit of a no-fault divorce is that these splits are usually viewed as “amicable.” Although all divorces can be tough on children, a no-fault divorce can be easier because it doesn’t place blame on one spouse and doesn’t leave itself open for “trash talking” one spouse.

How to File for a Fault or No-Fault Divorce in New Jersey 

If you wish to file a no-fault divorce in New Jersey, you simply need to file the paperwork with the court and show that you meet the previously mentioned requirements of separation or irreconcilable differences. It’s important to remember, however, that any type of divorce (either fault-based or no-fault) will need an experienced family attorney to help with the equitable distribution of your marital assets. If you and your spouse cannot amicably agree on the split of your assets, then a judge may need to decide this matter.

NJ Fault and No-Fault Divorces Can Be Complicated

There’s a legal process you must follow and requirements you must meet if you’re getting any type of divorce. The best approach to navigating a divorce is to consult with an experienced family law attorney at Smedley Law Group. Your lawyer can explain all of your options and assist you with filing for a divorce, regardless of whether it’s fault or no-fault. 

Ultimately, filing for a fault or no-fault divorce isn’t only about obtaining a legal marriage dissolution, but also achieving certain objectives essential for post-divorce planning such as addressing property division, spousal support payments, child custody arrangements and more. If you’re currently facing the complex decision between whether to pursue a fault or no-fault divorce, contact one of our experienced family law attorneys who can help you consider all of your options and make sure your rights are protected throughout the process.

Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group, P.C. in Woodbury, NJ Today

If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group, P.C. represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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