Divorce in New Jersey – The Complete Guide

divorce in New Jersey
Worthy Staff

By Worthy Staff | May 23rd, 2019

Getting a divorce can be stressful and time-consuming, but the good news is you will make it through to the other side and find peace again. So, if you’re navigating a divorce in New Jersey, use this guide to understand the basics in order to end your marriage in the Garden State.

Divorce Terms in New Jersey

The spouse who requests a divorce is known as the plaintiff while the other spouse is known as the defendant. Even if the two of you are amicably divorcing with a mediator, the terms are the same.

How To Start The Divorce Process In New Jersey:

To start the divorce process, the plaintiff files a “Complaint for Divorce/Dissolution” and one of you must be a New Jersey resident for, at the very least, 12 consecutive months.

Where to File For Divorce in New Jersey

For the party filing for divorce, you also must file in the county where the technical reason you use for your divorce occurred, even if you are now living outside of the county. We’ll cover grounds for divorce next.

If the two of you have lived apart for 18 months or longer, the plaintiff must file in the county where he or she last lived before or during the 18-month marker. One exception to all of this is if your grounds for divorce is adultery. In that case, just one of you has to be a New Jersey resident for any length of time. Now that you know some basics before filing for divorce, let’s discuss what the state of New Jersey considers as legal grounds for divorce.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

When we say “grounds,” we mean reasons recognized in the eye of the legal system for granting a divorce. New Jersey has a few grounds for divorce: no-fault grounds for divorce and fault-based grounds.

No-fault grounds can be granted in two situations: if the marriage has broken down for at least six months or longer, and there is no possibility for the two of you to reconcile, or you have both lived apart for a year and a half and have no plans to reunite and reconcile.

Fault-based grounds are different. Here are a few reasons for granting a fault-based divorce:

Keep in mind that if you are using one of these reasons as grounds for divorce, the process is going to be more complicated as you’ll need to prove the matter.

What happens now that the divorce is filed? 

Now that the plaintiff has filed the “Complaint for Divorce/Dissolution,” the defendant has 35 days after receiving this to either file for an appearance, file an answer or a counterclaim.

Filing for an appearance means: the defendant isn’t objecting to the divorce itself, but does not agree to what the plaintiff is asking for, whether it’s the entire request or one matter. Filing an answer just means that the defendant agrees or disagrees to whatever is stated in the complaint.

A counterclaim is something different. In this case, the defendant can give new information/reasons for the divorce.

Property Division, Alimony, & Child Custody in New Jersey

If you’re getting a divorce in New Jersey, you will most likely be facing property division issues and potentially, matters of alimony and child custody. Here are some facts regarding all three of these big stressful issues:

How A Judge Divides Up Marital Property:

Laws in New Jersey basically state that all property is marital property. When dividing up property, here are the things a judge will consider when deciding, essentially, who gets what.

  1. How long the two of you were married or in a civil union
  2. How old you both are and the state of your physical and mental health
  3. If you have an agreement written by you both ahead of time, the judge will honor that
  4. Your individual financial circumstances once all property has been divided. Also each person’s potential to earn and perhaps, child care responsibilities and any schooling needed to become self-supporting
  5. If one of you or both of you contributed to each other’s education or earning abilities
  6. Your total debts and liabilities for each of you
  7. The value of your properties
  8. Any tax consequences that will happen once the property is divided up
  9. And other reasons, for example, if one of you has actual physical custody of your children – will you need to stay in the marital home?

As you can see there are many factors that play into how a judge will divide up your assets during the divorce proceedings in New Jersey.

How Alimony Is Awarded In New Jersey

If the two of you already have an agreement made, congratulations! The judge will typically abide by it, unless perhaps it is viewed as unfair to one of you or if one of you was coerced into agreeing to the matter. Otherwise, there are numerous factors that play into how long someone receives alimony and how much the person will actually receive like:

In general, alimony is not a clear-cut matter or case, and each divorce is unique.

Basic FAQ’s On Child Custody In New Jersey

Child custody is not a simple matter, so we will just stick to some basic facts here to prep you for your divorce in the Garden State.

  1. Before the divorce is final, both parties must attend the state’s mandatory “Parent Education Program.”
  2. If the two of you can make an agreement on custody whether on your own, with lawyers or through mediation, the judge will approve unless the agreement is not in the child’s best interest.
  3. Child support in the state of New Jersey is determined by a set of guidelines dictated by the state.

Insights From Jumping In: Dating After Divorce in 2019

In 2019, Worthy conducted a study on how divorce women approach divorce and dating in today’s world.

Age of Today’s Divorced Woman
Of the women we surveyed, 42% divorced between the ages of 35-44 and 28% between 45-54, indicating that midlife is the most common time for marriages to break up. Only 9% divorced after the age of 55 and the younger women, 34 and under, made up 22%.

Divorce Proceedings in the 21st Century
We asked our participants to share what legal processes they were familiar with for divorce. Litigation (53%) and mediation (48%) were at the top of the list but many were also familiar with alternative routes such as low-conflict collaborative divorce (25%). Services like working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst are much less well-known (5%).

Divorce Finances 101
When it came to the big issues, the majority of women felt sufficiently informed to make decisions. This included issues like health insurance (60%) and the marital house (56%). However, when it came to issues outside of the immediate household, such as taxes, the participants felt less informed.Reusable Block

Dating After Divorce
Dating is at the forefront of many divorcees’ minds. 78% of the women have already started thinking about dating by the time the divorce papers are signed. 40% of women feel confident about dating after divorce, 68% feel excited and hopeful. 59% of divorced women meet dates on online dating websites or apps.

Getting Divorced The Easier Way

Divorce can be a complicated, draining and expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to file for an uncontested divorce in NJ, do it the easy way with our friends at It’s Over Easy, the only online divorce solution that guides you through every aspect of your case, founded by celebrity divorce lawyer Laura A. Wasser. 

“After practicing Family Law for over 20 years I came to realize that people deserve a better way to get divorced. I founded It’s Over Easy to give people a high-quality, less expensive & more amicable option. Our platform takes the user through the entire dissolution process. We provide information and support along the way through our content on our Insights Blog, the Divorce Sucks! Podcast and The Index, our curated professional and lifestyle resource guide. Divorce is difficult but the legal part shouldn’t have to be.” 
–Laura A. Wasser


A List of Resources to Get Through Your Divorce in New Jersey

Now that you know some basic facts on divorcing in NJ, have you considered some of the resources and support you’ll need to navigate the divorce process?

Keep this little checklist by your side as you navigate the process:

Focus Area OrganizationWebsite

National Association of
Divorce Professionals


Certified Divorced


Association of
Financial Planners



And of course, don’t forget us here at Worthy.

How Can Worthy Help You Through Your Divorce?

Worthy is here for you on your divorce journey, from those life-altering words, “It’s over” to starting over again in your new life after divorce. Our online auction marketplace brings together buyers and sellers to get the best value for your engagement ring and other diamond jewelry, in a safe and transparent environment.

Worthy is here to help you sell your engagement ring and diamond jewelry for more by providing insured shipping (up to $100,000!), GSI/GIA diamond grading and professional photos, shown to hundreds of buyers ready to bid on it.

We understand the decision of selling jewelry from a previous marriage can be very emotional, so when you’re ready to part from the past, we are here for you in your transition from “Mrs. to Ms.” Selling your jewelry can be a great way to purge old energy from your bad marriage, as well as serve you financially for your goals post-divorce. And in addition to our stellar marketplace, you can enjoy our blog to read inspirational stories from women who have been through every stage of divorce and back. You can also listen while you’re on the go to our podcast, “Divorce & Other Things You Can Handle.”

Divorce process guide for main US states

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice on any subject matter. Consult with an attorney for more information regarding your individual situation.

Worthy Staff

Worthy Staff

The Worthy Blog is a place for inspiration, insight, and advice for all things surrounding life's greatest transitions - divorce, losing a loved one, retirement, and so much more. You can find us on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook.


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