Union Family Law Attorney for Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions
Family law attorney John D’Alessandro has been advising and representing individuals seeking to establish or dissolve domestic partnerships and civil unions for nearly a decade – as long as those institutions have been legally recognized in the state of New Jersey. Now, the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro has expanded its practice to include same-sex marriage and divorce as well. As same-sex couples have come to receive all the rights and benefits of opposite-sex married couples, they have become subject to a myriad of issues and family law matters, including prenuptial and marital agreements, child custody and child support, alimony, property division and more. With over 20 years of experience in divorce and family law in New Jersey, our office is well-equipped to provide same-sex couples with sound legal advice and assistance in their family law matters.
Same-Sex Marriage in New Jersey
The road to gay marriage in New Jersey has not been a straight one. On January 12th, 2004, New Jersey became one of the first states in the country to adopt a domestic partnership law for same-sex couples, granting some of the benefits which married couples enjoy to registered domestic partners. In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state had to give the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples that it gave to married couples, giving rise to the Civil Union law in 2006. In 2012, the legislature passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, but this measure was vetoed by the Governor, who called for a constitutional amendment which would ban same-sex marriage in the state. Then, on June 26th, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that the federal government had to provide same-sex couples married under state law with the same benefits granted to married couples. This decision prompted a New Jersey court in September to rule that the New Jersey constitution required the state to recognize and permit same-sex civil marriage. Less than a month later, local officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
John D’Alessandro can assist you in the range of family law matters which may arise in same-sex marriage, from prenuptial agreements to divorce and child custody matters.
New Jersey Civil Union Law
While many same-sex couples may choose to get married now that gay marriage is recognized in New Jersey, the state’s civil union law still exists and applies to all of the civil unions currently operating in New Jersey. Dissolution of a civil union requires a court order, and there may be issues to decide involving children or property. If the union produced children where one partner is the biological parent and the other partner never formally adopted the child, the non-biological partner may seek visitation through the courts.
If there was a civil union agreement in place, that document may set out what assets are considered separate property to prevent a dispute in the case of a break-up. Like a prenuptial agreement, the civil union agreement may address matters of alimony as well.
Get Help Today with Civil Unions and Same-Sex Marriage in New Jersey
Whether you are contemplating entering into or dissolving a domestic partnership, civil union or same-sex marriage, John D’Alessandro can help you negotiate and draft the necessary documents to protect your interests, or represent you in a dissolution proceeding. The Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro also assists in drawing up partnership or cohabitation agreements as an alternative to civil union or marriage. Call our offices today to speak with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney who can help you explore your options and advise you on how you might wish to proceed.