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Divorce New Jersey Family Law

Bergen County Divorce Attorneys

Handling Divorce, Annulment & Dissolution of Civil Unions in Bergen County, New Jersey

The decision to dissolve a marriage marks a critical and often emotional time in any person’s life. The end of a marriage represents the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. Further, a divorce in Bergen County, can have far-reaching consequences for not only the individual litigants, but for their children and families as well.

Divorce and Annulment Defined

In a nutshell, divorce is the legal termination of a marriage. The family court in Bergen County enters a final judgment which terminates the legal marriage contract and pronounces the once married parties as single. Conversely, an annulment (which is much rarer in New Jersey than divorce) declares a marriage void, as though it never occurred. The process for obtaining a divorce or an annulment are relatively similar, procedurally, but as addressed further below, the grounds for an annulment are more limited.

What is the Cheapest Way to Get a Divorce in NJ?

The cheapest way to get a divorce in New Jersey is to file an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is much more affordable and quicker than a traditional, contested divorce. You can avoid prolonged and expensive court battles over every disagreement. A typical NJ uncontested divorce timeline is usually three to six months.

Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a divorce can be granted on both no-fault and fault-based grounds. The most common “no-fault” ground for divorce in New Jersey is known as “irreconcilable differences” and requires only that the parties have experienced a breakdown in their relationship for a period of at least 6 months prior to initiating an action for divorce. Conversely, under any of the fault-based grounds enumerated below, more specific proofs are required.

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Grounds for Annulment in New Jersey

Like a divorce, an annulment (otherwise known as a judgment of nullity) terminates a marriage, however, it does so by declaring the marriage relationship void from a legal perspective. As such, the grounds under which a party can seek an annulment are more limited, and include:

  • That either party was already married to another individual at the time of the marriage at issue;
  • That there was an illegal familial relation between the parties;
  • That either party was incurably impotent at the time of the marriage (and failed to disclose same to the other party);
  • That either party lacked the mental capacity to marry;
  • That there was a lack of mutual assent to the marriage;
  • That either party was under the legal age of consent to marry.

While an annulment results in the same outcome as a NJ divorce – the parties are no longer considered married, there are some significant differences. For instance, while the Bergen County court can still address family issues of child custody, parenting time, and even financial support where relevant and appropriate, there is no statutory equitable distribution of property as occurs in a divorce. As such, division of any property is more heavily tied to how title to property is held.

Is NJ a 50/50 Divorce State?

NJ is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital property is not split 50-50 automatically in the event of a divorce. Instead, judges will decide what's fair under the circumstances of each case. 

NJ defines equitable distribution as the division of marital assets in a fair but not necessarily equal manner. The County court is under no obligation to split your marital property 50/50.

When deciding how to separate the accounts somewhat, the judge will look at several factors, including: 

  • The time length of the marriage or civil union
  • The ages of the parties involved
  • The mental and physical health of all parties included

Often, couples have a valid prenuptial agreement. In that case, the language contained within the document will determine how to divide joint assets.

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