Same-Sex Marriage Changing Property Rights
- March 28, 2014
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As marriage equality spreads across the country the resulting changes in states’ laws have been vast and issues regarding property rights and mortgage processes are among the changes that are taking place. Now that same-sex marriages are being recognized and codified into the laws of the individual states, policies and regulations that were initially only relevant for heterosexual couples, such as laws regarding property rights and benefits, are being made available to same-sex couples who are legally married. With regard to property rights and mortgages, before gay and lesbian marriages were recognized in a state that has accepted marriage equality, homosexual couples had to file as co-borrowers on separate applications and then submit the applications at the same time. With the changes that have been occurring, in states that recognize same-sex marriages, couples can file a joint mortgage application and all of their income, liabilities, expenses, and assets will be submitted on one application for their household. This manner of filing jointly may very well affect the status of their mortgage application and these gay and lesbian couples can now feel more assured that they are receiving the same treatment and protections that previously was only available to heterosexual couples. In addition, in the unfortunate situation where any homosexual married couple may decide to end their marriage through divorce, any and all of the real and/or personal property that they accumulate during their marriage will be considered marital assets that will be subject to equitable distribution just as it would for a heterosexual married couple who filed for a divorce. No longer do the courts need to consider issues like the 2007 case of Richard Gruber v. Scott Rixford wherein the NJ Superior Court in Passaic County and later the NJ Appellate Division reviewed substantial evidence relating to the financial contributions of the two men toward their shared residence over the course of their 10 year relationship. In fact, many LGBT couples who never had to consider the issue are now seeking pre-nuptial agreements to protect pre-marital assets, children from prior marriages or disparate earning capacities. If you are an LGBT couple and have questions concerning the property rights involved with same-sex marriage or divorce it is imperative that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before proceeding. For more information about same-sex marriage, same-sex divorce, dissolution, alimony, equitable distribution or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.