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Can anyone register for a domestic partnership in NJ?

Couples who live as domestic partners in Atlantic City may be interested in forming a more legally binding union without becoming legally married. A domestic partnership filed with the courts might be helpful in attaining protection of assets and providing other benefits previously reserved only for those with marriage certificates.

There are requirements that must be met in order to apply for domestic partnership in New Jersey. As of a law passed in 2007, both same sex and opposite sex couples must be over age 62 to file an application. Prior to that time, same sex couples under 62 and opposite sex couples over 62, as of July 2004, were eligible. The partners who filed between 2004, when the first laws entered the books, and February 2007, when the law changed, have been grandfathered in and are still considered legal domestic partners. Those filing after 2007, however, are subject to the modified law with the age requirement for all applicants.

An important stipulation for those couples wishing to apply for a certificate of domestic partnership is that at least one of the two applicants has a retirement account administered by the state of New Jersey. They must also live as a couple typically would live, each maintaining a level of responsibility for the other's welfare and financial support. Neither can be otherwise legally bound by another certificate of partnership or marriage to another person.

Domestic partnership laws may provide some protection for couples that are not legally married. The specifics can be somewhat confusing as the laws change from time to time, but a family law attorney may be able to help with details.

Source: State of New Jersey, "Domestic Partnership", November 11, 2014

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