Well as I noted earlier; it’s very rare for divorce cases to focus on the why of the divorce. Meaning, most judges respect that you have the freedom to end your marital relationship if you choose to and the court is no longer going to hold two people in marriage together simply because of a societal construct that they shouldn’t get divorced. The cause of action really does not come up a whole lot in the divorce action. Most times judges don’t even read the pleadings that tell the court the reason why you’re getting a divorce until the very end of the case when you have settled your case, and are putting through an uncontested divorce or at a trial where you would actually be testifying about the reasons why you’re entitled to a divorce.
It becomes almost perfunctory what you claim is the reason for your divorce. The few times it does matter however, is when the facts leading to the divorce have some bearing upon the substance of issues in your case. If you allege something like your spouse having an addiction and that that cause the breakdown of your marriage, you may also claim that they’re not capable of parenting, so it should affect child custody. Or you could claim that if your spouse committed adultery, if that was your cause of action and your allegation is that by virtue of committing adultery, they took money from the marital pot and put it into their extra marital relationship rather than spending it on yourself and the children. Then in that circumstance, it might be relevant to the distribution of assets and debt in the marriage.
But in those circumstances, it’s really all about what impact the cause of action had on the issues in the case like support of the parties, child custody, and distribution of assets and debt. The emotional pain that you suffered really does not have much, if any, impact on the resolution of your divorce. Unless it has some impact on you that you’re seeking to have economically recompense. If you have suffered a mental breakdown as a result of the emotional stress of your marital relationship, you might be able to file a separate cause of action against your spouse for personal injury. That would also be dealt with in the course of your divorce and you would seek to have moneys paid to you by virtue of your needing to have medical bills paid, mental health bills paid, and perhaps ongoing treatment. But outside of those very limited circumstances, most times the divorce action is about the substance of the case and not so much about the cause of action.
Allison C. Williams is a matrimonial and family law attorney serving Short Hills New Jersey. Her practice places an emphasis on complex child welfare matters.www.familylawyersnewjersey.com