Special Considerations For Same-Sex Divorce
- March 21, 2014
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The state of New Jersey has recognized marriage equality since October of 2013 and now that same-sex marriage is legal in the Garden State many people may begin to wonder what considerations need to be realized regarding same-sex divorce. One of the first things that a gay or lesbian couple must consider is if they entered into a civil union prior to their marriage how the civil union, which is a legal agreement, may affect them if they decide to divorce. Based upon the new N.J. Department of Health policies, same-sex couples who were previously joined in a domestic partnership or civil union do not need to dissolve these partnerships as a prerequisite to marrying in this state – provided that the spouses who were joined in either of these two legal relationships are marrying each other and not someone new. Ultimately, because the legal marriage does not function to dissolve the prior domestic partnership or civil union, the gay couple remain in two distinct legally valid unions – the marriage and the civil union or domestic partnership. If the relationship sours and the couple decides to obtain a divorce, they must remember that both the legal marriage and the other legal partnership must both be terminated. Each legal union brings certain rights, entitlements, and responsibilities to the relationship and therefore terminating only the marriage does not release a party from the obligations that flowed through the prior civil union or domestic partnership and vice versa. Therefore, LGBT couples who are planning to apply for a marriage license should take the time to discuss whether or not they should address the issue of their civil union prior, during, or after their marriage as there may be consequences that result from either allowing the legal partnership to remain in affect or by dissolving it. If you are a homosexual couple and have questions regarding what legalities you should be aware of regarding your 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, same-sex relationship 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.