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Can You File A New Jersey Divorce Based On Extreme Cruelty?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Divorce | 0 comments

When pushed to your limits, you can reach your breaking point. For most New Jersey marriages, such a breaking point translates to divorce because a spouse has had enough of the other’s abusive behavior.

The grounds for New Jersey divorces have two basic categories: fault and no-fault. Separation and irreconcilable differences are no-fault reasons. Meanwhile, extreme cruelty falls under at-fault grounds, alongside adultery, abandonment, addiction, sexual misconduct, imprisonment and institutionalization.

Determining how extreme cruelty affects the dissolution of your marriage is the jumpstart toward resolving your emotionally taxing situation.

What Constitutes Extreme Cruelty?

Extreme cruelty happens when your spouse has endangered your life through different forms of abuse, making it unbearable to cohabit with them.

  • Physical abuse: Sexual assault and aggressive actions like punching, slapping and yelling
  • Financial abuse: Gambling addiction, withholding funds, restricting access to bank accounts, controlling wages and selling valuable personal assets
  • Mental abuse: Verbally and emotionally manipulative conduct like coercion, intimidation, humiliation, ridicule and isolation from loved ones

According to New Jersey statutes, you must hold sufficient proof that these violent behaviors transpired within three months before you filed your claim.

Proof Is Everything

In most cases, it’s your word against your spouse’s. Relevant and concrete evidence supports and solidifies your case.

  • Letters and health records from your primary physician and other health care providers
  • Incriminating videos, photos showing your injuries and timestamped security camera footage
  • Audio recordings of violent conversations
  • Witness statements or testimonies from neighbors, relatives and friends

Filing a divorce on extreme cruelty grounds entails comprehensive documentation of all the pain and suffering you had to endure. Additionally, if you are on the receiving end of false accusations of extreme cruelty, you may also file a counterclaim.

Extreme Cruelty Demands Extreme Courage

Sometimes, the most extreme measure of protecting yourself is confronting what hurts you. The journey toward healing begins with bravely fighting your battles by reopening the wounds of your tragic relationship. As you recollect your marriage’s painful episodes, know that a helpful legal hand is always available to build your case and help you stand up for your truth.