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Divorce & Separation

New Jersey Divorce & Separation Lawyers

Separation and divorce can be as difficult as grieving the loss of a loved one. It is often a period that is marked by many changes in a person's life - financial, social, and psychological - and often includes difficult decisions about your life and your family. Burlington County divorce attorney Richard C. Klein, Esq., Chairman of Cooper Levenson's Family Law Practice Group and our experienced team of South Jersey divorce attorneys diligently represent our clients at this difficult time, advocating for their interests and protecting the welfare of their children. Before discussing with your spouse the terms of your separation or divorce, including a separation agreement or custody arrangement, contact our Cherry Hill office to consult with one of our South Jersey divorce lawyers.

Richard C. Klein: Reputable South Jersey Family Law Lawyer Assisting Clients in all Divorce Matters

Richard C. Klein, Esq., a renowned South Jersey family law attorney, has been helping families get through divorce for many years. He has over 30 years of experience and believes that an important component of representation for those going through a divorce in New Jersey is to have a solid understanding of the legal process and the issues that typically arise so the client will have a clear picture of the challenges associated with divorce.

Our Cherry Hill divorce lawyers handle all aspects of the divorce process including:

  • Separation
  • Property division / Equitable distribution of assets
  • Alimony/Spousal Support
  • Child custody
  • Visitation & Parenting time
  • Child support
  • Domestic Violence

Separation & Separation Agreements

Separation triggers financial rights and responsibilities for the couple in regards to both child support and alimony. However, there really is no formal proceeding to have a legal separation in New Jersey. Many times a couple may not want to argue about the grounds for divorce as fault grounds will not impact the ultimate financial decisions in the case. In New Jersey, spouses who have experienced differences in their relationship that have lasted for at least 6 months prior to filing and are "irreconcilable" can file for divorce under the "irreconcilable differences" section of the statute. In these cases, "legal separation" and a "separation agreement" between the spouses are appropriate and helpful.

A separation agreement covers the period of time from separation until divorce. It is a contract that outlines the terms of the couple's separation and is meant to resolve all issues relating to child custody and support, alimony, division of property, and debt liability. At the time of the legal separation, the debts and assets are usually "frozen" and allocated between each spouse. This means that each spouse is likely to be solely responsible for the debts they incur during the separation, and that neither spouse can dispose of marital assets during that time.

Since a properly executed separation agreement is a legally binding contract between spouses and because it is normally the first step in a divorce case, it is not to be taken lightly and without much consideration. We caution you that before you even begin negotiating a separation agreement with your spouse, consult with South Jersey divorce attorney, Richard C. Klein, to know your rights and responsibilities and to put yourself in the best possible position before proceeding to divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

In order to file for a New Jersey divorce, either spouse must have been a resident of the State for at least one year prior to the filing of the action. Under the New Jersey Divorce Statute, specifically N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2, there are nine grounds or causes to file for divorce. The three most popular grounds are irreconcilable differences, "no-fault" 18-month separation, and extreme cruelty.

Irreconcilable Differences

Spouses who have experienced differences in their relationship which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months prior to filing and for which there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation can file for divorce under the "irreconcilable differences" section of the statute. Under these grounds, the parties can file for a New Jersey divorce, while continuing to reside together.

"No-Fault" Separation

Separation is New Jersey's only no-fault ground for divorce. To qualify under as grounds for divorce, the parties must have lived separately, in different residences, for a period of at least 18 consecutive months and there must not be a reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

Extreme Cruelty

Extreme cruelty includes any physical or mental cruelty which makes it improper or unreasonable to expect that a person to continue to cohabitate with their spouse. The courts are very liberal as to what type of conduct constitutes extreme cruelty when deciding a divorce in New Jersey.


In New Jersey, adultery exists when one spouse rejects the other by entering into a personal intimate relationship with any other person. The specific sexual acts performed are not relevant. Rather, the rejection of the spouse occurring along with the extramarital intimacy constitutes adultery. The complaining spouse in an adultery divorce case that is being heard in the New Jersey must state the name of the person (the co-respondent) with whom the adulterous conduct was alleged to have been committed. If the name is not known, the complaining spouse must give as much information as possible to describe the co-respondent.


Under New Jersey divorce law, the grounds of desertion is defined as the willful and continuous abandonment by one party for a period of twelve or more months, with satisfactory proof that the parties have ceased to cohabit "as man and wife". The parties may live in the same house, but desertion may be claimed after 12 or more months of a lack of sexual relations.


As a cause of action for divorce in New Jersey, addiction involves a persistent and substantial use and dependence on a narcotic or other controlled, dangerous substance, or a habitual drunkenness for a period of 12 or more consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.


When one spouse has been institutionalized for mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months preceding the filing of the complaint, institutionalization is a ground for a New Jersey divorce.


Imprisonment as a ground for divorce in New Jersey occurs when a spouse has been imprisoned for 18 or more months after the marriage. However, the action cannot be commenced until after the spouse has been released and the parties must not have resumed cohabitation after the imprisonment.

Deviant Sexual Conduct

Deviant sexual conduct is a cause of action for divorce if one spouse engages in the conduct without the consent of the other spouse.

South Jersey Divorce Lawyers: Providing Knowledgeable Legal Counsel to Divorcing Couples in New Jersey

It is important to note that, in New Jersey, the grounds for divorce and other statements set forth in the complaint for divorce do not play a role in the court's rulings on the issues of alimony, equitable distribution, custody, child support or counsel fees. South Jersey family law attorney, Richard C. Klein, Esq., and his team of experienced South Jersey divorce lawyers from Cooper Levenson will counsel you on the appropriate cause of action under which to proceed in your particular divorce action.

We understand that when you are considering a separation or divorce, you need to know that you have someone experienced in handling these matters on your side. Our New Jersey divorce lawyers bring years of experience-honed expertise to the table and work diligently to provide knowledgeable legal counsel and guidance. Our goal is to reach a favorable resolution to your family law matter so that you can move forward with your life.

Contact Richard C. Klein: Experienced South Jersey Family Law Lawyer at Cooper Levenson

Our South Jersey divorce lawyers represent clients throughout South Jersey including the communities of Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Monmouth County and Ocean County. Call New Jersey divorce lawyer Richard C. Klein, Esq., at our Cherry Hill office today to discuss how our team of qualified Cherry Hill divorce attorneys can assist you with your separation or divorce matter. 856-528-0822.

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Cooper Levenson, P.A.
Family Law Department

Cherry Hill Office
1415 Marlton Pike East
Cherry Hill Plaza
Suite 205
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Phone: 856-528-0822
Fax: 856-857-5527
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Atlantic City Office
1125 Atlantic Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
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