Is Filing for Divorce a Piece of Cake?

I recently saw a story about a bride who uploaded a polarizing Tik Tok video from her wedding. The video showed the bride playfully putting some frosting on her new husband’s face during the cake cutting. Harmless enough—or so she thought. Well, he in turn grabbed the cake, all three layers of it, and smashed it into the side of her face. It was a real fon-don’t. (If you don’t understand this joke you haven’t eaten nearly enough cake).

There were many online commenters saying that she should divorce him immediately. If this were a New Jersey bride, and she were as enraged as I would be if this incident took place, could she literally file a Complaint for Divorce mere days after the wedding?

Well, if you are a loyal follower of my blogs then you won’t be surprised to know that the answer is…wait for it…it depends!

There are numerous causes of action for divorce in New Jersey. Some of these include irreconcilable differences, mental illness, adultery, extreme cruelty, and deviant sexual conduct.

Long story short, there are only two causes of action that would allow the bride to file for divorce right away in New Jersey, and it couldn’t be on the basis of cake in the face. There are many “layers” to this discussion. But first, a look at the causes of action where it won’t be a…piece of cake…to file for divorce quickly:

Irreconcilable Differences: By a mile, this cause of action is the most commonly used one in New Jersey. A divorce complaint on this ground must allege there have been irreconcilable differences in the marriage for at least six months prior to filing. So, no matter how mercilessly that cake was smashed, if the frosting still isn’t dried on the bride’s face, she will have to wait about 179 more days to file her complaint.    

Extreme Cruelty: At first blush, it may sound (and may indeed be) “extremely cruel” to hurl a layer cake at your new bride. To file on these grounds, the bride must show, in part, that there has been physical or mental cruelty that endangers her health or safety. Perhaps she could convince the Court it was mentally cruel for her husband to ruin her hair, makeup, and dress on the wedding day. Still, New Jersey law does not allow a divorce complaint to be filed on this ground until three months have elapsed since the date of the last act of cruelty. So, the bride would have to wait about 90 days after Cakegate to file her Complaint.   

Mental Illness: You could argue that Mister had to have been mentally ill to throw a cake at his new wife during their wedding, and if I were him, that’s the story I’d stick to. But, even this ground won’t free the bride from her crumbling marriage. The groom would have to have been institutionalized for his mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months to file on these grounds. 

So what “sweet” relief can we give to the bride? Well, the good news is, there are two grounds for divorce on which our bride, even a mere day after her wedding, could file for divorce. The bad news is, if the groom’s misdeeds are limited to cake, then these grounds won’t apply either.  

Adultery: So as not to add insult to injury, there is no waiting period to file for divorce on grounds of adultery in New Jersey. So, the bride could get hit with the cake on Saturday, find out about cheating on Sunday, and file her Complaint for Divorce on Monday. 

Deviant Sexual Conduct: The only other option for the bride to quickly file for divorce would be to allege deviant sexual conduct by the groom, which does not have a required timeframe for filing.

Either of these avenues may not be a cakewalk. The bride must allege things that actually happened, and could not make up a scenario just to hurry her divorce along. In fact, anyone filing a divorce complaint in New Jersey has to certify that the allegations of the Complaint are true to the best of his or her knowledge, and that he or she has not colluded with anyone in making the allegations.

So there you have it. A little slice of advice for our bride, or anyone realizing quickly after saying “I do” that the ingredients for a successful marriage are just not there.

The Family Law department at Cooper Levenson is a full-service department that has many years of experience representing clients in matters of divorce, custody, alimony, child support, domestic violence, prenuptial agreements, grandparent visitation, and other family law issues. We are here to help.

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