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Same-Sex Divorces and Dissolution of Civil Unions & Domestic Partnerships

Apr 14, 2015 | Written by: Diana N. Fredericks, Esq. |

New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage in October 2013. Same-sex married couples ending a relationship will now go through divorce, following the same process as opposite-sex married couples.

New Jersey couples already in civil unions or domestic partnerships can now marry their current legal partners without first terminating their existing civil union or domestic partnership, however, a prior relationship will continue following the marriage. In other words, partners ending a marriage may also have to end an underlying civil union or domestic partnership.

Earlier this year, Judge Jones wrote and published a very important decision in the case of Groh v. Groh, wherein he concluded that those seeking to dissolve a civil union were entitled to assert the grounds of irreconcilable differences.   The court said that since New Jersey now recognizes same-sex marriage, there was no legal logic in permitting same-sex couples to dissolve marriages based on irreconcilable differences while prohibiting them from dissolving pre-existing civil unions on that basis.

The NJ Department of Vital Statistics has a useful FAQ page that may help in answering some questions.

Given the complexities involved with the dissolution of Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships or Same -Sex Divorces, we advise you to contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Gebhardt & Kiefer at 908-735-5161.  We handle family law issues throughout New Jersey.