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In 2013, same-sex marriage was legalized in the state of New Jersey. Unfortunately, if you are divorcing your same-sex partner, you may encounter particular challenges with dividing financial accounts, property, and income.
Additionally, you may also be concerned about child custody if you and your spouse did not establish joint legal parentage during the marriage. A Livingston same-sex divorce lawyer could address these issues and guide you through the legal processes of dissolving your marriage.
A legally accepted reason for divorce, known as “grounds,” must be established before a New Jersey resident can file for divorce. The grounds listed in New Jersey Statutes Annotated 2A:34-2 include adultery, extreme cruelty, addiction, and desertion. However, if same-sex spouses both want to dissolve the marriage, they can proceed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, also known as a “no-fault” divorce, and move more quickly through the process.
To divorce in New Jersey, a spouse must have lived in the state for at least one year before filing. However, if one spouse has committed adultery, which specifically includes same-sex extramarital relations, the other spouse can immediately file for divorce. An experienced attorney could help determine whether a spouse can initiate a divorce from their same-sex partner in Livingston.
Same-sex spouses can pursue a divorce in the same manner as an opposite-sex couple and may file for marriage dissolution in New Jersey if the residency and grounds requirements are met. After filing, they may either resolve their marital issues by agreement or pursue relief in court. A skilled attorney could explain the legal process to same-sex couples in Livingston, identify problems to address, and work toward finalizing the divorce.
Although LGBT divorces follow the same legal processes as for heterosexual couples, some elements may be handled differently for same-sex spouses. An experienced attorney in the community could advise on how to navigate the following factors when dissolving the marriage of an LGBT couple.
One of the essential factors in a court’s consideration of alimony is the length of the parties’ marriage. If the court interprets this factor literally and determines the marriage’s length from the actual wedding date, a spouse committed to their partner for many years before the legalization of same-sex marriage could receive an unfair result.
Because same-sex marriage has been legal in New Jersey for a relatively short amount of time, many LGBT couples have been in committed relationships for years prior to their legal union. They may have lived together and purchased property that, because it was purchased prior to the marriage, might not be considered marital property under the law. A knowledgeable divorce attorney could develop a strategy to equitably divide all joint assets of the same-sex spouses from their entire relationship, not just during the legal marriage.
In New Jersey, if a same-sex couple is married, they are both considered to be legal parents if one of them gives birth to a child. However, if one spouse adopted a child before or during the marriage and the other spouse did not join in the adoption, determining custody could be challenging. A seasoned attorney could advise on each parent’s legal rights and responsibilities regarding their child after a same-sex divorce in Livingston.
Despite the fact that same-sex divorces now follow the same legal processes as any other marriage dissolution in New Jersey, LGBT couples may face more complications in practice. Our firm’s compassionate legal advocates understand the challenges you might encounter as a same-sex couple going through a divorce.
Whether you are dealing with claims for spousal support, child custody disputes, or complex property divisions, a Livingston same-sex divorce lawyer could help you navigate your domestic differences. Contact one of our attorneys today to schedule a consultation.