I'm pretty much 100% sure that Mary's response was a typo and she meant to say "does NOT" effect the outcome.
Fault is irrelevant to - alimony, equitable distribution / property division, child support, child custody. The only time it is relevant at all is when it has a direct economic effect on the parties - for example, a drunkard gambling away a marital 401k in Atlantic City.
Other exception is if you're seeking money damages for domestic torts (I'm handling a case now where he was cheap about everything including his choice of call girls and gave her Herpes - we're pleading the issue [and getting the file sealed]).
Otherwise, unless you're Catholic and seeking an annulment (or Muslim and seeking a Religious Divorce with the husband granting it) - in which case you may need to plead adultery - there's no benefit to pleading fault.
There is, however, a cost. If you inflame tempers (and there's ALWAYS two sides to a story....) then it becomes more difficult to resolve your case and the cost spirals out of control (would you rather pay $2,000 for your divorce, or $20,000... or, as in a case noted by the Appellate Division last week - $1.8 million?)
If you have a good, solid reason to pursue fault (religion, domestic assault), then do so ... but don't operate under the assumption that it will effect the outcome.
And please don't be guided by TV divorces -- a judge is NEVER going to care about why you're getting divorced unless it effects economics. There is no "moral vindication" in Family Court -- that's TV / movies only. In fact, to the limited extent that a judge is even read your complaint, claiming fault when there's no economic or religious reason to do so can make you look bad / overly angry / emotional and can hurt your case if there are support or custody issues.
Think carefully before you proceed. The smarter way to go about it is no-fault and mediation. Don't go to war unless you really need to and have a solid reason. Talk to an attorney (or 2) before you file.
The above is said without seeing your case file and without my understanding the entirety of the facts of your case. Depending on those facts, the above information be may incomplete or may be completely inaccurate. The above is intended as general information only based on what you described and not as legal advice. I advise you to consult with counsel who may be able to provide better information commensurate with a better understanding of your situation.
You may assert any grounds that are applicable to your case in a counterclaim if he files first. The grounds for divorce really has something to do with "equitable distribution", child support, alimony and/or counsel fees.
MARY TOM, ESQ.
HUNZIKER, JONES & SWEENEY, P.A.
Wayne Plaza II
155 Route 46 West
Wayne, NJ 07470
Phone No. (973) 256-0456
Fax No. (973) 256-4784
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In my opinion, fault does not really matter. In the end, you are divorced whether there is fault or not.
Legal disclaimer: This message does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This message does not establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established once a retainer agreement has been fully executed between you and this firm. For legal advice, please contact and retain an attorney of your own choosing.
Mrs. Tom is correct, if you husband files a complaint for uncontested divorce, you can file an answer and counterclaim, and in your request for relief detail what you are seeking (I.E. custody, equitable distribution of marital property, etc). Keep in mind uncontested divorce is the best option when the parties have the framework of an agreement in place and there are no points of contention. Good luck.
Disclaimer: The information here is general and not intended to be construed as legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice contact a qualified attorney. James R. Fridie III Esq. The Fridie Law Group LLC 200 Campbell Drive, Suite 226 Willingboro, NJ 08046 (856) 505-8610 Office (856) 513-2810 Fax (609) 367-4688 Cell FLG@fridielawgroup.com If you found this information helpful please click the thumbs up icon below.
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