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Residency Requirements for Divorce in New Jersey

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When planning to get divorced, where you get divorced can matter. Each state has unique laws regarding matters of marital asset division, spousal support, child custody, and more. Each state has different precedents for how it handles certain cases. If you want to file your divorce in New Jersey, you will first need to meet the residency requirements.

Residency and jurisdiction for divorce are not always clear. Like all state-specific laws, the requirements can also vary from state to state. New Jersey is a favorable state to get a divorce, due to its equitable division policies and other precedents. Therefore, if you are seeking a New Jersey divorce, Petrelli Previtera, LLC Family Law can help you determine the residency requirements and other details you will need to know.

What are the Residency Requirements to Get Divorced in New Jersey?

New Jersey has three separate requirements that determine if one or both spouses can file for divorce within the state. These requirements are designed to prevent people who do not live in New Jersey from traveling to the state just to get a divorce. Most states have a residency requirement, though the specific details vary as to when and who can file for divorce in each state.

One Spouse Must Be a Resident

In order to file for divorce in New Jersey, at least one spouse (or both) must be a registered and permanent resident of the state. This includes having a home address in one of New Jersey’s counties and registering as a resident through state-issued documents.

One Year of Legal Residency

The second requirement is that the resident spouse (or both spouses) must have lived in New Jersey for at least one year. This prevents temporary residency just to get divorced. Uncontested no-fault divorces and most at-fault divorces share this requirement. However, the timeline is different in other states.

Adultery Exception

However, if a spouse files an at-fault divorce and the fault is adultery (cheating), the one-year rule is waived. Any resident of New Jersey, even if their residency is less than one year, can file for an adultery at-fault divorce in which their spouse was the one who committed adultery.

Marital State

In some cases, you may file for divorce if New Jersey is your primary marital state—the state in which both spouses lived together and shared a residence for more than a year. However, the guidelines on marital state jurisdiction are not as clear and require case-by-case analysis. It may help if the marital home is still jointly owned in New Jersey even if one or both spouses are not currently in the state.

Looking for more Information? Download our FREE Guide “How To Tell Your Spouse About Divorce”

How Does New Jersey Determine Residency?

There are several ways to register as a legal resident of New Jersey.

  • Register your car with New Jersey plates and certification
  • Register to vote in New Jersey
  • File your taxes in New Jersey
  • Keep a home in New Jersey and spend more than 183 days in the past year within the state

Can I File for Divorce in New Jersey If…

Can I File for Divorce in New Jersey If I Live in Another State?

Yes. If your spouse is a resident of New Jersey or if you have not yet legally changed your state of residence, you can file for divorce in New Jersey.

Can I File for Divorce if My Spouse Lives in Another State?

Yes. If you are a resident of New Jersey and your spouse lives in another state, you can file for divorce in New Jersey.

Can You File for Divorce in New Jersey if Both Spouses Have Moved?

It depends. If New Jersey was very recently your marital state and/or either spouse is still a legal resident of New Jersey (has not registered as a new resident in a different state) then you can still file for divorce in New Jersey. But check with your lawyer, first.

More Questions Clients Ask About Residency Requirements for Divorce in New Jersey

The rules that determine whether or not you can file for divorce in New Jersey are not always straightforward, and often depend on specific circumstances. This section aims to answer some of the most common questions we encounter regarding these requirements, shedding light on situations like when one or both spouses live out of state, or if both have recently moved.

Should I Get Divorced in New Jersey if I Got Married in New Jersey?

Not necessarily. There is a common misconception that you must get divorced in the state where you got married. But this isn’t the way the US divorce system works. You will file for divorce in the state and county in which you or your spouse currently life. If you travel back to New Jersey to get divorced because you got married in the state, and you are not currently a resident of New Jersey, your divorce petition will most likely be rejected for not meeting the residency requirements.

Can I File for Divorce in New Jersey If I Just Moved to the State?

It typically depends on the length of your stay. Most states, including New Jersey, have residency requirements that must be met before you can file for divorce. In New Jersey, at least one spouse must have been a resident for at least 12 months preceding the filing of the divorce. If you just moved to New Jersey, you may need to wait until you meet the residency requirement to file for divorce in the state. As always, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional to understand your options.

When Multiple Divorce Jurisdictions Are Possible?

One thing to remain wary of is the fact that your divorce could potentially be filed in more than one state or county.  This is because the residential location of both spouses are considered valid. There are even some complex situations where more than two locations are considered possible divorce jurisdictions.

If you could be divorced in two or more states, it is important to consider which set of state laws is most favorable to you, and/or which state is the ost convenient for you to get divorced in based on your current locations.

How Do You Qualify to Divorce in Multiple Places?

If you and your spouse have established residency in two different states, then your marriage is eligible for divorce in both states – one or the other. Where your divorce takes place depends on who files first. This sometimes leads to a “Race to Jurisdiction”.

The Race to Jurisdiction

The race to jurisdiction is what determines which jurisdiction your divorce will take place in – and which state laws will govern your divorce – based on who files first. The person who files first will be able to choose whichever state has laws more favorable to them.

It should be noted that you can file in your spouse’s state of residency if you live in different states and their state’s laws are more favorable to you.

Register For Divorce In Your New Jersey County of Residence

Lastly, remember that jurisdiction is not just by state, but also by county. You will need to register your New Jersey divorce in the county in which you and/or your spouse have residency. If you both live in New Jersey, but in different counties, both counties are eligible to file, but your divorce will only be accepted in a county where residency is established.

Related Resources for New Jersey Divorce and Custody Laws

Our website offers a wide range of resources dedicated to divorce in New Jersey. These resources cover various aspects such as the divorce process, laws, qualifications, and answers to common questions. You can find information on divorce, separation, and other family law issues. These resources are provided free of charge by our firm as part of our mission to help families transition from chaos to clarity during divorce. We hope they assist you in understanding what to expect and planning for your future. Please note that they do not constitute legal advice, as laws can change and court proceedings are specific to the facts of each case. We recommend consulting with a lawyer to review the details of your situation and receive guidance on what to expect and suggested next steps. Feel free to reach out to us to determine if we would be a good fit to represent you.

File Your New Jersey Divorce with the Help of Petrelli Previtera, LLC Family Law

If you or your spouse have residency in New Jersey, you can file for a New Jersey Divorce. The family law attorneys of Petrelli Previtera, LLC can help by providing expert guidance, negotiation assistance, and document preparation to ensure that your divorce is favorable and accepted by local New Jersey courts.

Our team has attorneys licensed in many states and informed about how residency could impact your family law mater. We are happy to answer questions specific to your case if you have any concerns or inquiries before filing for your New Jersey divorce. Please contact us to set up an appointment for representation in your case.

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Melinda Previtera, Esq. came highly recommended to our family. Her knowledge base, professionalism, and compassion paved the way for a successful outcome. Melinda is efficient, detailed, and informative. She helps manage expectations, and postures her client for a fair and equitable result. We are happy to recommend Melinda!

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