In the state of New Jersey, you can file for divorce on several grounds: adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, and no-fault. No-fault divorce means the court will not assign fault to either party for the divorce. As of 2007, New Jersey uses irreconcilable differences (the two parties no longer get along), in addition to separation for at least 18 consecutive months, to settle no-fault divorces, which can lead to a smoother divorce. But, this also means that even if you claim that your spouse has engaged in adultery or cruelty, it will not affect the outcome of your divorce, nor will it help your chances in getting more alimony, child support, or equitable distribution.

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Residency Requirements

Either the petitioner (the spouse who is filing for divorce) or respondent (the other spouse) must have lived in the state of New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months before filing for divorce. The spouses must have experienced irreconcilable differences for at least 6 months, or have lived apart for a minimum of 18 consecutive months, without foreseeable reconciliation.

Fill out your forms

When filing for a no-fault divorce in the Chancery Division, Family Part, you'll need to complete various forms.  Everyone should complete the Petition-Marriage Form and the Summons Form, and couples with children must complete several additional forms. All the necessary forms can be obtained by contacting your local County Clerk or Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ). LSNJ's book "Divorce In New Jersey: A Self-Help Guide" contains instructions and forms designed for self-represented litigants. Call the LSNJ hotline at (888) 576-5529  to find out if you qualify for free legal help. If you're located outside of New Jersey, call 732-572-9100 and ask to be transferred to the hotline.

If both parties are in agreement with the terms of the divorce they can proceed with completing a Divorce Settlement Agreement using Rocket Lawyer's easy interview process. This document clarifies the terms of the agreement prior to proceeding with starting the action.

Make Copies of your Forms

Once you have filled out the appropriate forms, make at least five copies of each. The original set and two copies will be sent to the court, and two should be kept for your records and for later use. Make sure all the blanks of your complaint and other documents have been completed and filled in, and each document has been signed and dated.

Bring your Completed Forms to your Court Clerk's Office and Pay the Fee

You'll also want to make sure you have enclosed a check for the filing fee and, if you and your spouse have children, the fee for the Parents' Education Program. Do not enclose the check if you are asking for a filing fee waiver. Prepare and enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope so the court can return your filed copies to you. Once your documents have been filed, you will receive a docket number, which you should write on all of your photocopies. It is also a good idea to make three copies of each filed document, as you may need them later. 

If your spouse lives in another state or country, make sure to consult a lawyer before filing.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.