Adultery and Divorce in New Jersey
When seeking a divorce in New Jersey you must provide the Court with a legally acceptable reason to terminate your marriage. These legal reasons are called grounds for divorce. New Jersey recognizes both at-fault and no-fault grounds for divorce and civil union dissolution. Adultery is considered in the legal community to be an at-fault ground.
Should I Allege Adultery in Divorce?
Some years ago it mattered to the Court on what grounds a litigant filed for divorce based on. However, that has changed in recent years as most divorce proceed on a No-Fault grounds and now the Courts view a divorce filing more like as a termination of a business relationship. However, to this day there are some circumstances based on which we will recommend that a divorce complaint should be filed on the grounds of adultery. For example if there is marital fraud during which one spouse spends marital funds and income on non-martial purposes, such as an affair which may involve travel, payment of a paramours bills and expensive gift giving. The same way of thinking by a hearing Court will apply to the division of property. If the cheating spouse misused a large portion of marital funds on his/her extramarital lover, the judge may award more assets to the innocent spouse to compensate that spouse.
The Impact of Adultery on Child Custody
The act of infidelity by a spouse does not directly affect child custody in New Jersey. Though extenuating circumstances may be a factor. For example, if the unfaithful spouse’s paramour is dangerous or otherwise affects the child in a negative manner, the hearing Court will absolutely pay attention to such a fact and will do something about it to protect the involved children based on the best interests of the child standard. If your spouses paramour is an objectionable persona, such as a sex offender or a drug addict or alcoholic, custody and visitation may be affected when the your spouse allows him/her to spend time at home around your children. All of these factors will be evaluated by our Courts based on a case by case basis as they may apply to your case.
To discuss your specific adultery and divorce situation, contact Elfant Rickett Law Firm at 201.968.5700 to arrange a consultation with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer.