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Same-sex couples face unique difficulties during a divorce

Many New Jersey couples are basically aware of the many difficult issues that need to be resolved in the event of a divorce. Yet, the unique issues that arise when same-sex couples decide to dissolve their marriage are less clear, in large party due to the relatively small body of case law pertaining to these nontraditional partnerships in New Jersey.

The state law allows people in domestic partnerships and civil unions to marry without first vacating their prior legal standing. Moreover, those partnerships and unions may remain legally intact while couples are married and, in the event that couples opt to dissolve their marriage, after the divorce. This means that in addition to the usual considerations, couples might have to take the actions necessary to dissolve their preexisting partnership or union, a motion treated under state law as a matter entirely separate from the divorce even though similar procedures are required for both.

Child support and child custody issues tend to present more complexities during a same-sex divorce than they do traditionally. They often require extensive consideration and specialized handling by each spouse's attorney during the divorce process. The same holds true for establishing visitation rights and settling adoption-related disputes in many same-sex cases.

As more nontraditional couples enter into marriage and divorce, the volume of established precedents will accrue and the difficulty associated with resolving these particular family law issues will abate. At any rate, a family law attorney may not only help explain these issues to individual spouses but also handle them in such a way that protects the spouse's rights and advances his or her interests. For more information on what potential challenges you can expect to confront during a separation and divorce, we invite you to visit our family law page.

Source: April & Marinucci, "ATLANTIC CITY AREA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY", December 22, 2014

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