Divorce & Separation

New Jersey Family Law Attorneys Representing Individuals in Westfield and Beyond

Divorce proceedings are a complicated and often emotionally exhausting experience. It is critical to protect your legal rights and interests during the process. At Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, our knowledgeable New Jersey lawyers understand the nuances of family law matters. We provide people throughout the state with individualized attention, ethical advice, and comprehensive legal guidance, based on our substantial experience in this area.

Seeking to Dissolve a Marriage in New Jersey

In order to initiate a divorce action in New Jersey, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for 12 consecutive months, and the complaint must be filed in a county where at least one of the spouses lives. Before filing a complaint for dissolution, however, there are many legal aspects to consider depending on your specific circumstances, including your financial situation, children, grounds for divorce, and other matters.

In New Jersey, the law provides for either a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. A no-fault divorce is more common, in which the parties need not present any proof or evidence that either spouse was responsible for causing the marriage to end. The marriage is dissolved based on grounds of separation or irreconcilable differences. A no-fault divorce due to separation requires that you and your spouse have lived apart for 18 consecutive months or longer, and that you have no chance of reconciliation. Irreconcilable differences does not involve living separately, but it does require that you and your spouse have experienced irreconcilable differences for a period of six months or longer and have no reasonable chance of reconciliation.

A fault-based divorce requires proof of each element of the cause of action to establish that the other spouse brought about the breakdown of the marriage. Consequently, fault-based divorces typically involve more extended legal proceedings. The statutory grounds for fault in New Jersey include desertion, extreme cruelty, imprisonment for more than 18 months, adultery, deviant sexual conduct, and habitual drunkenness or addiction. Each of these grounds requires specific information to be included with the complaint. Desertion is a commonly cited ground, for example, which occurs when one spouse leaves the other for more than 12 months.

It is important to note that a fault-based divorce action may not necessarily bring about a more beneficial financial outcome than a no-fault divorce, and the prolonged court proceedings requiring personal evidence may also be a consideration. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can be helpful in determining which type of dissolution to pursue in your particular situation.

Discuss Your New Jersey Divorce Proceeding With a Westfield Lawyer

The family law attorneys at the New Jersey firm of Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper are respected within the legal community and recognized as leaders in our field. By utilizing our knowledge of related areas of law, such as tax, real estate, estate planning, and corporate law, we are able to provide comprehensive advice to people seeking guidance from a New Jersey attorney regarding divorce, child custody, and other family law matters. Based in Westfield, we also operate offices in Summit, Red Bank, New York, and Philadelphia. Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper assists individuals in communities such as Far Hills, Morristown, Princeton, Middletown, Eatontown, and Freehold. Call our office at (908) 233-6800 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.