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Domestic partnership in New Jersey

In New Jersey, domestic partnership is protected and recognized through the Civil Union Act. Any domestic partnership that meets state legal requirements is valid as long as it is properly registered.

Any eligible couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, seeking a legal domestic partnership should secure an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership. The document needs to be simultaneously cosigned in front of a public notary and simultaneously filed with a Local Registrar of Vital Statistics. Once the document is on file with the Local Registrar's Office, a Certificate of Domestic Partnership will be given to the parties, and the partnership will be legally registered.

Applicants will have to provide legitimate identification to register. Any state- or government-issued identification document will suffice. A passport, military identification, driver's license, operator's license for other motor vehicles, state identification card or certified birth certificate can be used as a photo identification. To verify state residency, documents such as a utility bill, rental lease, mortgage or tax record should be submitted.

To be eligible for domestic partnership registration, couples must live in the same New Jersey residence, or at least one individual must have membership with the state's retirement organization. Proof of membership should be provided in the form of a benefits statement, membership certificate or 1099R. Applicants should also have joint accounts or co-own property. Couples should be unmarried, legally uncommitted to another person and have no blood relation. If an individual has entered a previous domestic partnership, the former union must have been terminated at least 180 days prior to entering another partnership.

While a properly registered domestic partnership is protected by New Jersey law, any legal union could benefit from a consultation with a family law attorney. The attorney can assist with possible custody, property division or any matters pertaining to a partnership.

Source: State of New Jersey, "Domestic Partnership", October 29, 2014

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