Can I File for Divorce in New Jersey?
In order to file for divorce in New Jersey, either you or your spouse must reside in New Jersey for at least one year (12 consecutive months) prior to the date of filing. (There is an exception if adultery is the grounds for divorce, then the one year residency is not required as long as one spouse is a resident of the state at the time of filing). You do not need to have been married in New Jersey in order to get divorced in New Jersey, that is a common misconception.
Where should I file for divorce in New Jersey?
Once you have confirmed that you meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in New Jersey, you must determine which New Jersey county you should file in.
The first step is to figure out when your cause of action arose, meaning when the facts of your case met the description of your grounds for divorce. For example, to file for divorce based upon separation, you must have lived separate and apart from your spouse for 18 months. Therefore, the cause of action arises at the time you have lived separate and apart for 18 months.
After you figure out when the cause of action arose, you can then determine the proper county to file in (this is called venue). According to New Jersey Court Rule 5:7-1, you file in the county where you resided at the time the cause of action arose (even if you don’t live there anymore). If you were not a resident of New Jersey when the cause of action arose, but your spouse was, you file in the county where your spouse resided when the cause of action arose. If neither you nor your spouse resided in New Jersey when the cause of action arose, then you should file in the county where you live at the time of filing. If you don't reside in New Jersey at the time of filing, then you should file in the county where your spouse resides when service of process is made.
This information is for general purposes only, so you should speak with a divorce attorney about where to properly file your divorce complaint.
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