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Same-Sex Marriage Wins the Day in New Jersey

On Monday, October 21, 2013, vows were heard up and down the Jersey coast as same-sex couples gained the right to legal marriage. Although same-sex marriage was legalized in New Jersey in 2012, Governor Chris Christie opposed the measure, only withdrawing his objections when the Supreme Court of New Jersey denied further delay of the measure. 

New Jersey became the 14th state to legally recognize the union of same-sex marriage partners, an action taken by the state of New York in 2011. 

In light of a June 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) that struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and several actions taken by the federal government to equalize recognition of same-sex partners as spouses for purposes of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), more states are likely to follow in New Jersey’s footsteps. 

For same-sex partners in New Jersey, the legal right to marry also confers the right to legal protection during divorce proceedings. Just as legalizing same-sex divorce leads to a spike in marriages, an eventual parallel may occur in family law cases. 

Rights now available to same-sex spouses in New Jersey and New York include:

  • Property division: New York, like New Jersey, is an equitable distribution state. Spouses who divorce must make fair agreements to divide assets and wealth contained in their marital estate, or rely on a court to do it for them.
  • Spousal maintenance: Legally married couples must address the need for spousal maintenance prior to the dissolution of their marriage.
  • Parenting issues: Custody, support and parenting time are key issues in any union with children. 

When you have questions about family law, talk to us at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C.

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