Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships
The New Jersey Domestic Partnership Act (DPA) is a state law that grants couples certain basic rights, such as the right to make health care decisions and to receive tax exemptions. The law applies only to
- same-sex and opposite-sex couples who have reached the age of 62,
- couples younger than that who entered a domestic partnership before the law was revised in February 2007,
- and couples who have entered a domestic partnership or relationship status with similar rights and obligations outside of New Jersey.
A civil union is the legally recognized union of two individuals of the same sex. Civil union couples receive the legal benefits and protections and are subject to the legal responsibilities provided under New Jersey law to married couples.
Requirements for Entering Into a Civil Union
For two people to establish a civil union in New Jersey, they must satisfy all of the following requirements:
- Not be a party to another civil union, domestic partnership or marriage in this state or that is recognized by this state*;
- Be of the same sex ; and
- Be at least 18 years of age, except that applicants under 18 may enter into a civil union with parental consent. Applicants under age 16 must obtain parental consent and have the consent approved in writing by any judge of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part.
* Same sex couples who meet the above requirements and are registered as domestic partners may enter into a civil union with the same person without terminating their domestic partnership first. If the domestic partnership was registered in New Jersey, it automatically terminates when the civil union is registered. If the domestic partnership was registered in another state, that state’s laws determine the impact on the domestic partnership. A couple that has previously entered into a civil union or a same-sex marriage may apply for a Reaffirmation of Civil Union License.
Given the complexities involved with Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions, we advise you to contact one of our experienced family law attorneys at 908-735-5161 at Gebhardt & Kiefer today. We handle Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions and family law issues throughout New Jersey.