Under New Jersey law, a civil union is a legally recognized status for same-sex couples. Participants in a civil union have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples in the state of New Jersey. However, a civil union is not the same thing as a marriage but a separate relationship status. The New Jersey legislature created civil unions by statute in 2006 in order to provide same-sex couples with the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. The Civil Union Act became effective in 2007. Obviously, legislators in New Jersey enacted the Civil Union Act prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state, which occurred in conjunction with a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling of Garden State Equality v. Dow in October of 2013.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, state laws banning same-sex marriage and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages legally entered into other states were invalidated as violations of due process and equal protection rights. Given the fact that same-sex marriages are now legal in all states, and all states must recognize the same-sex marriages of other states, it is unclear whether civil unions should still be permitted for same-sex couples. Nonetheless, a civil union remains a legal possibility in the state of New Jersey; a civil union also is likely to be recognized as valid in other states that also have legislation regarding civil unions. However, it is unclear whether other states that don’t have a civil union law still will recognize civil unions, or whether it is necessary at this point. For instance, the states of Delaware and Rhode Island formerly had laws providing for civil unions replaced those laws with same-sex marriage legislation in 2013.
Interstate cases can quickly become complex, and you will find that legal assistance is necessary to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case. We understand that no two families are the same, so we treat you as a person with a family and with unique concerns and needs. The bottom line is that we are here to help you through whatever family law matter you are facing, from civil unions to dissolutions of marriage, from second parent adoptions to child custody cases. The lawyers at Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, regularly handle all types of family law, divorce, and other cases involving children. Contact our experienced attorneys today so that we can get started on the work that is necessary to resolve your legal matter. With our lawyers at your side, you will be able to make important decisions about your family from a position of knowledge, confidence, and strength.