Is Child Abuse Grounds for Divorce?

Is Child Abuse Grounds for Divorce?


Establishing Fault


To file for divorce in New Jersey, the petitioner must have a legally valid reason (ground). Some couples file for divorce on no-fault grounds, meaning neither spouse was at fault for the fall of the marriage, but they had irreconcilable differences. Others file on fault grounds, meaning one spouse was at fault for the fall of the marriage. While child abuse is not one of the fault grounds for divorce New Jersey recognizes, it can fall under other fault categories, such as extreme cruelty. The grounds on which you file for your divorce can affect the outcome of the case, so if you wish to file for divorce on fault grounds, read on for some key pieces of information that will help you take those steps.

Extreme cruelty is defined as physical or mental cruelty that endangers the health or safety of the spouse to the extent that it is inappropriate or unreasonable to expect the spouse to continue to cohabit. The abuse of one’s child is undoubtedly a form of mental cruelty to a parent that would make it unreasonable to continue cohabitation. This ground will be easier to use if a child welfare case is underway.

Proving fault grounds for divorce can be difficult, so you should speak with an experienced New Jersey child custody and matrimonial attorney for advice. If you cannot prove the fault ground, you can file on no-fault grounds. You should know, however, that filing on no-fault grounds may limit the protections and assistance you could have received had you filed on fault grounds. Filing for divorce can affect an open child welfare case, and this can complicate matters further. In filing for divorce, you are also asking the court to make a decision on custody if you are unable to agree with your spouse. Making such a decision is more complicated when child abuse is involved, and so the case could take longer and be more complicated.

Every divorce is different, so you need to speak with an experienced child welfare and child custody attorney with experience handling matrimonial matters for advice. You should wait until you speak with an attorney before initiating a divorce action, especially if child abuse is a concern. An attorney can explain how you can file for divorce on fault grounds and how your divorce can be affected by allegations of child abuse.


If you have questions about filing for divorce, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you establish grounds and file for divorce step by step. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

Let us know how we can help
Contact Our New Jersey Family Lawyers Today