New Jersey Attorneys for Same Sex Divorce & Civil Unions
Whether or not same-sex couples should have the right to marry has been among the most consistently debated, hot button issues in America for decades. The case law in this area is similarly dynamic, evolving significantly over time through legislation and precedential Supreme Court decisions at both the federal and state level. New Jersey has approached this issue with a step-wise process, recognizing domestic partnerships, then civil unions, and ultimately, same-sex marriage in 2013. As the legal implications of same-sex relationships continue to change, it is essential to understand the most current policy regarding civil unions, same-sex marriages, same-sex prenuptial agreements, and if necessary, same-sex divorce. Enlisting a family law attorney who specializes solely in divorce and family law, and ensuring that he or she has a sense of mastery in the area of same-sex partnerships, will allow you to best position yourself for your desired result.
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C., our seasoned New Jersey family lawyers have consistently been at the forefront of developments in the law regarding New Jersey civil unions, domestic partnerships, and nontraditional relationships, which now include same-sex marriages. We have written and lectured extensively on issues such as same-sex alimony and property division, and have represented many clients in related matters. With lawyers who are highly knowledgeable about all of the latest developments in same-sex union laws, we are able to most effectively represent clients across New Jersey. If you are considering entering into a civil union, concerned about the status of children in a civil union household, seeking dissolution of a civil union, or considering a same-sex divorce, we can offer you sound advice and informed guidance. Contact our Morris County offices at 973-840-8970 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships in New Jersey
New Jersey was one of the first states in the country to enact domestic partnership laws, giving eligible couples some, but not all of the state-level benefits of marriage. On January 12, 2004, the New Jersey Legislature enacted the Domestic Partnership Act, which applies not only to same-sex couples, but also to opposite-sex couples over the age of 62, who may benefit from being unmarried for government and employee benefits purposes. The Domestic Partnership Act provides “limited healthcare, inheritance, property rights and other rights and obligations” but “[does] not approach the broad array of rights and obligations afforded to married couples.”
In 2007, New Jersey’s state legislature, responding to the New Jersey Supreme Court, passed a civil union law making same-sex couples eligible for all the benefits of marriage under state law (note: federal benefits such as joint federal income tax filing are not covered by the civil union law). Under the civil union law, domestic partnership registrations are now only allowed for couples over 62, but domestic partnerships entered into by younger same-sex couples before that time are still valid under the old law.
Same Sex Marriage in New Jersey
After the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of United States v. Windsor in June of 2013, a New Jersey Superior Court ruled that same-sex married couples in New Jersey must be recognized with the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex married couples. Now, New Jersey provides multiple avenues for same-sex couples, including civil unions and marriages. As a result, same-sex couples must consider their options for prenuptial agreements and must address the same issues as married couples if they choose to divorce or dissolve their civil union.
Issues to be resolved during a same-sex divorce or dissolution of a civil union may include:
Contact our New Jersey Family Law Attorneys for Same Sex Couples
Many couples, regardless of sexual orientation, have partnerships that are not formally recognized as marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Our firm has helped countless clients across New Jersey with a wide variety of issues affecting nontraditional households. Contact us today.