Today in New Jersey, same-sex marriages are to be treated under the law as no different from opposite-sex marriages. Therefore, because New Jersey admits no-fault divorce based on a standard of irretrievable differences, the petitioning spouse won’t be required to prove the other spouse engaged in some wrong act, as would be necessary for a fault divorce. If you’re thinking about ending your same-sex marriage, you should talk to a Union County divorce attorney soon. This is clearly a painful time for you and you deserve the peace of mind of having a skilled and compassionate legal advocate.
Same-Sex Marriage in New Jersey
New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. Before that, however, New Jersey recognized a less legally protected variation of marriage for same-sex couples. In 2004, New Jersey recognized domestic partnerships, and then in 2007, the state recognized civil unions. These distinctions remain important today, even with marriage equality, because many couples may still be united in domestic partnerships or civil unions. Ending one of these legal relationships poses its own unique challenges, so make sure to talk to an experienced New Jersey marriage attorney.
Property Division in Same-Sex Divorce
Part of divorce proceedings in New Jersey is dividing up marital property. The Garden State uses equitable division for divorce, which means though marital property should be divided fairly, it does not need to be divided equally. This principle applies just the same to LGBTQIA+ marriages, though it will be necessary to weigh whether property acquired while the couple lived together (due to being unable to legally marry) will be considered marital property.
Spousal Support after a Same-Sex Divorce
Like property division, spousal support runs into issues with how time is counted. This occurs because the duration of spousal support is in part determined by how long the marriage lasted. Because of legal hurdles making it impossible to live as officially married, same-sex couples have often lived together for a long time before same-sex marriage was legalized, whether through live-in partnerships, domestic partnerships, or civil unions.
Determining Child Custody and Support after Separation
Although property division and spousal support have tricky aspects to them, potentially the most difficult topic for a same-sex divorce is child custody and support. If only one of the spouses is the biological parent of the child, and the other parent hasn’t adopted the child, the state may refuse to grant custody or visitation rights. On the other hand, the other parent also wouldn’t have to pay child support.