Essex County Same-Sex Union Attorney
New Jersey Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships
New Jersey recognizes same-sex civil unions and grants couples in civil unions the same state law rights as married couples. However, same-sex couples continue to have unique challenges when they enter into or dissolve civil unions.
At the Law Offices of Gary J. Natale, P.C., we ensure that our clients are informed about the civil union process from the moment they come into our office. We also provide advice about New Jersey domestic partnerships. Contact our office in West Orange, New Jersey, for a free initial consultation.
The Evolution of New Jersey’s Civil Unions
The good news: In February, 2007, New Jersey enacted a civil union law that gave same-sex couples the same state benefits as married couples. This law came on the heels of New Jersey’s 2004 Domestic Partnership Act, which did not give domestic partners full benefits under state law. Today, only couples older than 62 may enter into a domestic partnership, although the state will recognize any pre-existing domestic partnership.
The bad news: In early 2010, the legislature voted down a bill requesting legalization of same-sex marriage in New Jersey. Additionally, federal law does not recognize New Jersey’s civil unions. Thus, same-sex couples only receive rights and benefits under New Jersey state law, not federal law.
Entering Into a Civil Union
Entering into a civil union is an exciting time. You are ready to commit your lives to each other. A civil union gives you rights to make important decisions for each other (such as health care decisions) and receive state tax exemptions. It does not, however, always guarantee property rights. We help LGBT couples enter into prenuptial agreements to secure rights to their property should dissolution ever become necessary.
Dissolution of a Civil Union
While the legislature intended a civil union dissolution to work exactly like a marriage divorce, same-sex couples often run into more hurdles. Since there is little precedent in civil union dissolution cases, courts do not always respond the same way they would respond to a divorce. Our law firm puts great effort into lowering the hurdles and making the dissolution process less stressful for our clients.
We have extensive experience helping our clients with all dissolution and family law matters, including:
- Equitable property distribution, including complex asset division
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Domestic violence and restraining orders
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a New Jersey same-sex civil union lawyer, please contact us.