When a couple dissolves their domestic partnership, their status will become as it was prior to entering into the partnership in the first place. Domestic partners must still go through the same types of issues that a divorcing couple does, including property division, child custody issues and support. Unfortunately, the protections afforded to divorcing married couples are not available to those dissolving domestic partnerships under certain circumstances.
New Jersey residents may benefit from learning more about different issues associated with domestic partnerships and civil unions. First and foremost, domestic partnerships are designed to allow an individual the right to visit a partner being treated at the hospital and to grant authority in making medical decisions. Domestic partnerships may also provide partners with rights to equitable distribution and financial protections. This status may apply to seniors who choose an alternative means to marriage or gay or lesbian couples who desire to be in a legally recognized relationship.
First defined by the Domestic Partnership Act on July 10, 2004, and amended by the Civil Union Act on February 19, 2007, domestic partnerships in New Jersey apply both to same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are age 62 or older. Originally, the law applied to same sex-couples who were 18 and older.
Are you in a domestic partnership that you wish to exit? New Jersey is one of a handful of states that recognizes domestic partnerships for couples who wish to have some legal and financial protections, but who either can't marry or don't wish to marry. Domestic partnerships are commonly used by gay and lesbian couples and also by senior citizens who are in a relationship but don't want to marry. While a domestic partnership can provide a number of marriage-like rights and benefits, the laws surrounding a domestic partnership dissolution aren't so clear.
Many New Jersey couples who are thinking about tying the knot may be interested to learn that the state allows civil unions for all couples and domestic partnerships for heterosexual couples over the age of 65. What this really means is that couples can chose these options over traditional marriage in order to avoid the so-called marriage tax penalty.
Some people believe that New Jersey laws regarding civil unions and domestic partnerships provide the same protections to separating couples as laws regarding marriage, but that simply isn't the case. People who want to end a domestic partnership or civil union in New Jersey are likely to need an attorney who understands how state and federal laws differ.