Divorce Myth #4* – We have to be separated for eighteen months before a divorce complaint can be filed
The short answer is, no. It is true that, in the past, parties did need to be separated for an eighteen month consecutive period in order to be able to file a no-fault complaint for divorce. Parties who did not wish to wait were required to file for divorce asserting a cause of action such as extreme cruelty, adultery and others. At times, these labels created unnecessary problems for people who were divorcing amicably but did not wish to wait out the eighteen month separation period. This is no longer the case.
Causes of action for eighteen month separation, extreme cruelty, adultery and the like still exist and can be asserted. However, the more popular cause of action is now Irreconcilable Differences whereby you are not required to detail any specific allegations against your spouse and you do not need to be separated for eighteen months. The divorce complaint will simply state that the parties have encountered Irreconcilable Differences which have caused a breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Importantly, while there must be at least six months of irreconcilable differences, there need not be any separation period. In essence, the divorce complaint can be filed at any time.
*This is the fourth article in a ten part series exploring the most common myths concerning divorce law in New Jersey.
All of the attorneys at Domers & Bonamassa are well versed and have years of experience addressing family law issues, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at (856) 596-2888 for a private consultation. We appear in the following counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. Our practice areas include: divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, domestic violence, college expenses, equitable distribution, name changes, step parent adoptions, paternity issues, child abuse and neglect, prenuptial agreements, mediation and arbitration.
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