What Are Grounds In a Fault-Based Divorce?

What Are Grounds In a Fault-Based Divorce?

divorce papers with glasses case

What Are Grounds In a Fault-Based Divorce?

When you decide to end your marriage, you can ask for a no-fault divorce or you can file for a fault-based divorce. When you ask for this kind of divorce, you are telling the court that the behavior of your spouse directly led to the dissolution of your marriage. You have to show the court what happened and how your spouse is to blame. Even when things are your spouse’s fault, this may not actually be your best option. Our Chatham, New Jersey divorce attorneys can take a closer look at your situation and help you decide on the right path forward.

When Can I File For a Fault-Based Divorce?

You may want to file for a fault-based divorce in some situations. You can do so if your spouse has:

  • Committed adultery
  • Exhibited extreme cruelty and endangered your safety
  • Deserted you for 12 months or more
  • Been addicted to alcohol or drugs for 12 months or more with no effort to address it
  • Engaged in deviant sexual behavior
  • Been sentenced to imprisonment or institutionalization for an extended amount of time

In some cases, a spouse’s mental illness can also be grounds for divorce. Some of these grounds for divorce require you to wait a while before you can file and blame your spouse, like desertion. Others, like adultery, do not require any kind of waiting time. If that is the reason why you want to divorce, you can file right away.

Should I File For a No-Fault or Fault-Based Divorce?

New Jersey does not require you to file for a fault-based divorce though. Couples can also decide to get a no-fault divorce, with their reason being “irreconcilable differences.” So you do not have to show that your spouse is at fault at all. You can just get a divorce.

If you do decide to accuse your spouse of some kind of fault, you have to actually make your case in court. You need to gather evidence and make convincing arguments. A lawyer can help you do that, but they can also advise you on whether it is the best choice. Sometimes it’s just easier to ask for a no-fault divorce instead.

Can a Spouse’s Fault Affect Divorce Negotiations?

Another issue is that fault only affects the rest of the divorce agreement in specific situations. The court will not award you a bigger share of property just because your spouse committed adultery. However, if you can show that your spouse wasted marital funds on their affair partner, that could make a difference when you talk about alimony or the division of assets.

Meet With Our Family Lawyers

If you have any questions about the divorce process, we are ready to help. Contact Lazor Rantas, PC and ask to schedule a consultation today. Our team can tell you more about your options and what an experienced family lawyer can do for you.

Get in touch | we're here to help

Call NowEmail UsChat With Us

Read Our Latest Blog Posts