Hudson County Divorce Lawyer: Divorce due to Cheating/Adultery in New Jersey
While cheating/adultery is not the most common reason for the filing of a divorce, it is certainly one of the most common reasons for breakups and divorces. This guide will discuss filing for divorce with an adultery cause of action in New Jersey.
Adultery Defined in New JerseyIn New Jersey, adultery is defined in case law but not by statute. It is listed as a ground for divorce in the statute but the definition is not. In the case of S.B. v. S.J.B., the Court indicated that the historical definition is " an act of sexual intercourse by a married person with another person other than one's spouse."
Proving Adultery-Opportunity and InclinationThere are two elements to prove with regard to adultery. The first is opportunity and the second is inclination. Parties normally use the testimony of a third party such as a private detective. For example, the witness could testify that he or she witnessed the spouse enter a motel/hotel with another man/woman that is not his or her spouse. While the witness may not be able to see what is going on in the hotel, the opportunity for sexual relations is there. Inclination on the other hand is observing the people kissing, holding hands, embracing and so forth. The actual act of adultery (the sexual act) is not required to prove the case.
There is No Presumption of Innocence Concerning Adultery in Divorce CasesAfter 1979, adultery was no longer considered a crime. Prior to 1979, a defendant or a person in a divorce case was presumed to be innocent of adultery. Post 1979, this is no longer the law in divorces in New Jersey.
Why File Under Adultery When Extreme Cruelty and No-Fault Causes of Action Exist?Which cause or cases of actions a person seeks to pursue is a personal choice. Sometimes people seek "revenge" seek to humiliate the adulterer/his or her paramour so that a settlement can be compelled. In an adultery claim, a person must be named in the complaint or the best description possible. Simply adding Jane Doe 1, will not suffice. However, by filing under extreme cruelty, such specifics are not required. Furthermore, while you can seek damages for suffering from a marital tort, equitable distribution, alimony and child support will not use adultery as a factor in those final determinations.