Initiating the Divorce
Depending on how the marriage has dissolved, the steps you need to take vary. The party who files the divorce is considered the plaintiff, while the other spouse is considered the defendant. In New Jersey, the plaintiff is to file for the divorce in the county where they feel the marriage began to dissolve, regardless of whether or not they still currently live in that county. For example, if your spouse had deserted you while you were living in Essex County, but you currently live in Camden County, you would file for divorce in Essex County.
A "no-fault"divorce can occur either when a couple has been living apart for at least 18 months prior to the start of the divorce, or when a couple has experienced irreconcilable differences that prevent them from maintaining a normal, functioning marriage at least six months prior to the divorce.
A "fault" divorce occurs when either spouse's behavior or actions cause the marriage to dissolve. There are a variety of factors that can cause a fault divorce, but most commonly it is caused by desertion and extreme cruelty. Desertion means that either spouse has deserted the other for a period of at least 12 consecutive months, and extreme cruelty is defined as the defendant acting violently or abusively toward the plaintiff.