When you get married, you believe you’ll be in love forever. For some, this is true. For others, the relationship becomes more and more abusive with time. Getting out of that situation can be one of the hardest things a person has to go through. It’s even more difficult when you live in a fault-based divorce state like New Jersey.

There are only a few reasons you can file for divorce in New Jersey: desertion, adultery, extreme cruelty and, although seldom, no-fault. Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment is difficult to prove. Therefore, the courts must investigate the situation.

What does cruel and inhuman treatment entail?

It’s common for couples to fight. One bad day or moment does not lead to a divorce. However, when someone is experiencing repetitive physical or emotional torture, the court will help them get out of that situation.

Because cruel and inhuman treatment differs with every situation, it’s hard to give it a concrete definition. Some suffer from physical attacks. Their spouse continually beats them and, therefore, their life is put in danger. Some experience manipulation and intimidation. Their spouse could control everything from their appearance to their words to who they interact with. Although this form of abuse is more difficult to prove, it is just as damaging.

What does the spouse have to prove?

In order for the courts to approve this divorce, the spouse must be able to prove four elements:

  1. Cruel conduct endangers the life or health of the spouse.
  2. Causal connection, meaning that the abuse is the main cause of the separation.
  3. Appropriate Timing: the abuse happened repetitively during the marriage.
  4. Corroboration, meaning that someone other than the spouse must confirm the cruel treatment.

These elements will prove that the spouse is being abused to a point where they are in danger if they continue the marriage.

Although cruel and inhuman treatment can be difficult to prove, it is possible. There is a way out for those suffering from an abusive marriage. You can fight to get your life back.