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Can I Get a Divorce Even if My Spouse Doesn’t Want To?

upset couple

Many people are unsure what to do in the case that they want a divorce, but their spouse does not. Fortunately, according to New Jersey law, you can request a divorce even if your partner does not wish to.

Refusing Divorce in New Jersey

According to New Jersey law, if one spouse decides they want to get a divorce, the other has no say in the matter even if they do not want one and are trying to prevent the process from occurring. When one spouse refuses to accept the legal documents or resists responding to them, the court will make a default judgment.

During this process, the judge will look at the filing spouse’s paperwork in order to determine all decisions about the divorce, which may include child custody, child support, alimony, and asset division. Once these different aspects of the divorce are resolved, the judge will grant the divorce without the non-filing spouse’s response.

No-Fault Divorce

New Jersey is considered a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that you do not need to prove any wrongdoing such as adultery or abuse to file and ultimately obtain a divorce. The only thing you have to prove is that you have an “irreconcilable difference,” and your disagreement on whether or not to divorce qualifies as an irreconcilable difference.

While your spouse cannot contest your filing for divorce, they can contest terms of the divorce settlement such as child custody and visitation, child support, property division, and spousal support. This is where having an experienced Morris County divorce attorney can be of great benefit. They can help you properly file the necessary documents with the courts, fight for your settlement rights, and advise you on what to expect and how to navigate the divorce process best.

Fault Divorce

Alternatively, you can file for divorce and cite a particular grievance, known in legal terms as “fault.” If you can prove your spouse to be at fault, you may receive a more favorable divorce settlement in terms of asset division and support payments.

Fault grounds include:

  • Adultery,
  • Abandonment,
  • Abuse,
  • Neglect, or
  • Commission of a felony.

However, keep in mind that you must show evidence of the fault in court, your spouse can contest that evidence, and you may not be granted the divorce if you cannot successfully prove the fault in court. This is where a Sommerset County family law attorney with courtroom experience can greatly benefit you. They can help you obtain and demonstrate to the court evidence of fault and negotiate for a better divorce settlement.

To speak with one of our family law attorneys today, contact us online or call our Sommerset County office at (908) 274-3028.