In New Jersey, the courts do not confer legal separations, so couples living separate and apart are considered separated, according to the New Jersey Courts. However, there are several grounds which allow courts to grant a divorce, including desertion, extreme cruelty and adultery. Couples who have been living apart for more than 18 consecutive months also have grounds for a divorce.
Filing a divorce due to adultery has no waiting period, so the court is likely to grant an immediate divorce to a request. Cases of extreme cruelty require filing a complaint 3 months after the last case of cruelty, explains the New Jersey Courts. A couple must wait 12 months before filing a complaint in case of desertion.
It is strongly advisable to get legal representation when filing a complaint about a divorce under any grounds, notes the New Jersey Courts. This is helpful for making decisions on custody, support, visitation and property. The court does not delegate a lawyer for couples who don't have one. It is difficult for the other party to prevent a divorce once the court establishes grounds. If couples do not reach an agreement during the early settlement conference, the case goes to a hearing before a judge.