Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions
Same-sex marriages and relationships in New Jersey
A domestic partnership is a relationship wherein two individuals of the same sex, or two individuals of the opposite sex who are each 62 years of age or older, who meet the criteria set forth in N.J.S.A. 26:8A-4, are afforded certain rights and benefits, such as statutory protection against various forms of discrimination against domestic partners, certain visitation and decision-making rights in a healthcare setting, and certain tax-related benefits. However, effective February 19, 2007, two individuals of the same sex can no longer establish a domestic partnership. N.J.SA. 26:8A-4.1. The court may terminate a domestic partnership and may distribute jointly held property. However, the court is not required to effectuate an equitable distribution in the same manner as a divorce. N.J.S.A. 26:8A-10.
Effective February 19, 2007, two individuals of the same sex can establish a civil union in New Jersey provided they satisfy the requirements set forth in N.J.S.A. 37:1-30. As a result of establishing a civil union, the individuals are afforded all of the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law as are afforded to spouses in a marriage. N.J.S.A. 37:1-31(a). The dissolution of a civil union follows the same procedures and is subject to the same substantive rights and obligations that are involved in the dissolution of a marriage. N.J.S.A. 37:1-31(b).