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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Divorce > Differences Between PA And NJ Divorces

Differences Between PA And NJ Divorces


Divorce laws are not the same in every state, so your path to a final divorce agreement can vary depending on where you live. For example, even though Pennsylvania and New Jersey are both located in the Northeastern region of the United States, they have different laws. Additionally, there are different legal guidelines and processes that individuals who are choosing to divorce must follow.

When you hire an experienced Bucks County family attorney to represent you throughout the process, you are accessing the expertise of a legal professional who is familiar with both Pennsylvania and New Jersey state laws.

Residency Requirements and Child Custody

There is a difference between Pennsylvania and New Jersey when it comes to required length of residency before filing for divorce:

  • In Pennsylvania, one or both spouses must be a resident of PA for at least six months before filing for divorce.
  • But in New Jersey, one or both spouses must be a resident of NJ for at least 12 months.

Additionally, grounds of divorce differ. Irretrievable breakdown of a marriage is the grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania, which essentially means the marriage cannot be repaired. So irretrievable breakdown would be cited whether the union ended due to infidelity, the couple simply grew apart, or any other issue. But there are several grounds for divorce in New Jersey, including adultery, cruelty, and desertion. If none of those apply, you can obtain a divorce after a separation of at least 18 months.

A similarity between divorces in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is that when it comes to child custody, the standard is to create a custody and support system that is in the best interest of the child. But from there, some differences are present. One of these is that Pennsylvania courts follow shared legal custody guidelines as in a child’s best interests, but New Jersey courts presume primary caregiver guidelines. Of course, each case is unique and will need to be reviewed individually before a custody agreement is awarded.

Economic Concerns, from Alimony to Spousal Support

When one of the parties is seeking support payments, both states will review the economic needs of the spouse seeking spousal maintenance or child support. The ability of the other spouse to make payments will also be assessed. There is a range of alimony that could be possible, depending on the resources of each individual. Spousal maintenance payments vary in amounts and duration. If you are seeking economic support, share your marital financial information and your goals for the future with a seasoned Bucks County family attorney. Then, a path forward can be discussed and strategized.

Are you moving toward divorce and you live in PA or NJ? Where you live will influence the divorce process. You do not have to navigate all of the intricacies on your own, the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand will do that for you. To begin your journey to securing the post-divorce life you are seeking, schedule your no-cost consultation today. Call 215-968-6602.

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