Same-Sex Divorce Law Lags Behind Same-Sex Marriage Law in NJ
- November 20, 2014
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It has been over one year since same-sex marriage has become legal in New Jersey and since October 21, 2013 and the decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow, N.J. 216, 314 (2013) hundreds of homosexual couples from New Jersey and beyond have applied in this state for marriage licenses, but obtaining a same-sex divorce may prove to be a trickier ordeal. Twenty states in America still have legislation that prohibits homosexual couples from legally marrying each other. For many residents of these particular states, New Jersey has proven to be viable destination to travel to for the purposes of marrying. Many same-sex couples living in states that still ban gay and lesbian marriage routinely travel to other states to get married. The velocity with which same-sex marriage laws have been changing throughout the county have provided people in this predicament with many potential wedding destinations. The problem is, same-sex divorce laws have not adapted to accommodate this practice. It stands to reason that the majority of states that do not recognize gay or lesbian marriages also do not recognize same-sex divorce. Therefore, if a LGBT married couple desires to get a divorce there may be logistical obstacles that may impede the process. For instance, in New Jersey a gay or lesbian married couple who may live in another state but traveled to New Jersey to get married will most likely have difficulty obtaining a legal divorce in this state because of New Jersey’s residency requirement. According to the laws of this state, either or both of the spouses in a legal marriage must be a bona fide resident of New Jersey and if a couple wants to obtain a divorce on any grounds other than adultery, this residence requirement must have been established for one full year before the divorce papers are filed. The status of this aspect of the law may make it difficult for out of state residents who marred in New Jersey to get a divorce if they did not relocate to the state following their marriage – which indicates that thousands of people throughout the country may be affected by this. If you are a gay or lesbian couple who plan on seeking a legal marriage or filing for a same-sex divorce or would like more information regarding same-sex divorce it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before proceeding. For more information about same-sex marriage, same-sex divorce, equitable distribution, alimony, custody and visitation, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and it is in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.