Common Divorce Myths In New Jersey

In 2019 the CDC reported that there were approximately 746,971 divorces, or approximately 2.7 per 1,000 couples. New Jersey is very near the national average, with approximately 2.5 divorces per 1,000 couples as of the same year.  Because virtually everyone has either been divorced or knows someone who has, there tends to be a considerable amount of misunderstanding about the process. 

The advice (or misinformation) you get from your friends and family is likely not deliberate or malicious. A lot of what people hear about divorce may only pertain to a specific circumstance. Additionally, each state has different laws. For example, someone who gets divorced in North Carolina has to be separated for a year before filing for divorce. However, that does not apply to New Jersey, which has its own laws. We’ve assembled a few of the most common ones to help disprove them.

Myth #1: Mandatory Separation

Because many states do have mandatory separation, people may tell you that you have to be separated before filing. Is this accurate? Yes and no. In New Jersey, you must state the cause of action for why you are filing for divorce. One such cause is 18 months of separation.  If you use this as your cause of action, then you must show you and your spouse have been separated for at least 18 months prior to the filing of the Complaint.   

However, couples do not have to spend 18 months apart if they cite another reason for the divorce. For example, you may also file under the cause of action, “Irreconcilable differences.”  If you file for divorce due to irreconcilable differences, there is no mandatory separation requirement. 

Myth #2: Mothers Always Get Child Custody

Various states had unique ways of phrasing it, but there used to be a presumption that children needed to be with their mothers. It is critical to understand that is no longer the case. The best interest of the children is what determines custody—and there are many factors the Court considers. 

Myth #3: Fault & Adultery Can Cost You Everything

Another common belief is that if your spouse commits adultery, then the other spouse (the one who was cheated on) has an advantage during the divorce proceedings.  While you may use Adultery as your cause of action for filing for divorce, this is not necessarily true. 

States differ in whether they offer at-fault or no-fault divorces. New Jersey is a no-fault State, which means that your cause of action will not necessarily impact the outcome of your matter. 

For Adultery, it may impact the matter if you can show the cheating spouse has for example used marital funds on the affair, which have negatively impacted your marital lifestyle, or if they maintain a relationship with someone that could put your child in danger.  

Csépes Law Offices 

Since 2015, Csépes Law Offices have assisted clients with their family law issues. At the heart of our firm is a desire to help people. Contact us to schedule your consultation if you have questions regarding divorce, custody, or financial support issues. 

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