Adultery & Divorce in New Jersey

Should you file for divorced based on adultery? Learn more about this type of "fault-based" divorce below.

Updated by , Attorney

Being on the receiving end of someone's cheating is never easy. Many people discover their spouse's adultery by chance: seeing a text message, hearing a voicemail or finding a phone number or note. Others become suspicious and begin to snoop or spy on their spouse. However the cheating is discovered, after learning about a spouse's adultery, many people decide to end their marriage.

If you're in this position, you may want to get back at your spouse by waging an all-out war in divorce court, complete with lots of ugly allegations and mud-slinging. You must remember though that an ugly divorce battle will have long-lasting effects on everyone involved, especially any children of the marriage. It's important that you set your hurt or angry feelings aside, so that you can make a well-reasoned decision about whether you want to include issues of adultery in your divorce.

Alleging Adultery Often Leads to an Expensive and Adversarial Divorce

In New Jersey, you have the option of filing for a "no-fault" divorce. This means that you don't have to blame your spouse for causing the divorce. You can simply tell the court that "irreconcilable differences" between you and your spouse have led to the divorce. This is just a fancy way of saying that you and your spouse can't get along anymore, and there is no hope of saving the marriage. There is no need to point the finger at your spouse, or drag your family through an ugly court battle with allegations of each other's bad conduct.

However, some divorcing spouses choose a "fault" divorce. With a fault divorce, you will need to prove that your spouse's misconduct caused the divorce. In New Jersey, the fault grounds include adultery, abandonment, physical or emotional abuse, and alcohol or drug abuse. Adultery is one of the most common fault grounds alleged in divorce.

Some spouses choose this fault option because, in New Jersey, judges may consider misconduct when determining how much alimony to award. Unfortunately, alleging adultery as the ground for your divorce most likely means the divorce process itself will be tumultuous, contentious and expensive. You're attorney's fees will increase because your lawyer must investigate and prove your spouse in fact committed adultery.

Getting Help

If you are considering filing for divorce in New Jersey as a result of your spouse's adultery, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney in your area.