Need a Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey?

Our family law attorneys can help you navigate the same-sex divorce process.

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Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey

Same-sex couple fighting

In 2022, New Jersey signed into law the Marriage Equality Act. This act requires all laws regarding marriage and divorce to be read as gender neutral. In effect, this means that New Jersey treats same-sex marriage and divorce the same as those between members of the opposite sex.

For same-sex divorce, this means that the same laws that guide all marriages and civil unions apply. However, there are some differences between a dissolution of marriage and a dissolution of a civil union. Parties who entered into a civil union before same-sex marriage was legal in New Jersey will have more restrictions on divorce.

Regardless of whether you are in a marriage or civil union, having experienced legal representation is a must. While the state provides the forms to file on your own, even the courts providing the forms state that it is best to have an attorney. This is especially true if there is property or children involved.

Rosenblum Law Firm is experienced in same-sex divorce in both marriages and civil unions. Contact us today to schedule your consultation, and keep reading for more information on same-sex divorce in New Jersey.

Legal Framework for Same-Sex Divorce in NJ

The laws for divorce in New Jersey are complex and many, and the new Marriage Equality Act makes all of them applicable in same-sex divorce in New Jersey. Here we will explore the most important of these laws.

Section 2A:34-2 gives the grounds for divorce in a marriage, and Section 2A:34-2.1 gives the grounds for divorce in a civil union. 

The grounds for divorce in New Jersey are:

  • Adultery, or voluntary sex with someone outside the union
  • Willful and continued desertion for 12 months
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Separation for at least 18 months
  • Addiction to a narcotic, or alcoholism lasting at least 12 months
  • Institutionalization for mental illness for 24 consecutive months
  • Imprisonment for 18 or more months, with provisions
  • Deviant sexual conduct
  • Irreconcilable differences lasting six months (aka “no-fault” divorce)

The grounds for divorce in a civil union are nearly the same, except the last two (deviant sexual conduct and irreconcilable differences) don’t apply. Regardless of the grounds for divorce, evidence must be presented to prove the case. Some grounds are harder to prove than others, which is where an experienced attorney can help.

Other state coded laws about divorce include:

  • Section 2A:34-8 through 2A:34-11 lay out laws about jurisdiction and process service.
  • Section 2A:34-12.1 through 2A:34-12.7 is known as the Parent Education Act, and requires parents to go through a Parent Education Program. 
  • Section 2A:34-23 outlines how alimony and child support are calculated and when they are awarded.
  • Section 2A:34-23.1 gives criteria for equal distribution of property.
  • Section 9:1-1 through 9:2-12.1 give certain guidelines for child custody considerations.

All of these laws apply to both marriages and civil unions, regardless of gender, and require an attorney to interpret properly. It is especially important to have an attorney when children are involved.  

Recent legal challenges to same-sex marriage and divorce will not affect these laws in the future, thanks to the Marriage Equality Act. The Act protects same-sex marriage regardless of court challenges elsewhere in the country.

Common Challenges in Same-Sex Divorces

For the most part, the challenges in same-sex divorces are the same as those in opposite-sex  divorces in New Jersey. There can be challenges to how property and assets are divided, as well as alimony or other financial support. If children are involved, custody and visitation matters also need to be negotiated.

The biggest challenge same-sex divorcing couples face that others do not concerns jurisdiction. This is because not all states recognize the same-sex marriage or civil union of other states. 

The state of New Jersey counteracts this by allowing those who married or entered into a civil union in New Jersey to file for divorce there even if they are no longer a resident. However, one must prove that they cannot file for divorce in their new home state. 

How an Attorney Can Assist in Same-Sex Divorce

The right attorney can assist in same-sex divorce in a number of ways. For example, they can:

  • Negotiate the division of assets and property
  • Draft child custody and support agreements
  • Help navigate unique aspects of same-sex divorces, especially jurisdictional concerns that can arise because not all states recognize same-sex marriages and divorces from other states. 

Fortunately, New Jersey allows for filing divorce in a same-sex marriage or civil union as long as one person lives in the state. They also allow for those now living in other states to file for dissolution of their New Jersey same-sex marriage if the state they now live in doesn’t recognize the marriage or divorce.

Finally, an attorney can navigate alternative methods of resolution such as mediation. During mediation, both parties are represented by attorneys, and the terms of the divorce are negotiated. If both parties are able to reach an agreement on some or all major issues, the divorce proceedings are much easier and less expensive. 

Emotional and Psychological Aspects

The emotional and psychological impacts of divorce on both partners and children are significant and cannot be ignored. Even when both parties are ready to divorce and only the details must be negotiated, complex emotions accompany the process. Children are especially affected by divorce and should be fully supported.

To that end, it is important to seek support from professionals and community groups. Support groups have proved to be very effective for those going through divorce. It can be helpful for children to see a therapist with the support of both parents so that they can adjust in a healthy way.

Likewise, it is important to work with an attorney who will offer compassionate guidance. All of the attorneys at Rosenblum Law Firm take a more compassionate approach to divorce negotiations and guidance.

Financial Implications

There are many financial implications of divorce beyond the cost of the divorce itself. First, Experian warns that the division of assets, debts, and joint accounts will impact credit scores. This could make it more difficult to get the credit needed to build a new life.

Second, the division of assets and the support of two individual households can leave both parties with a lower standard of living than they had when living together. According to Forbes, a study of those over 50 showed that women experienced a decrease in standard of living of 45% while men had just a 21% decrease.

It is vital to plan for financial independence after divorce. A good attorney can help plan for the future and minimize costs during the divorce itself. This is best done by negotiating terms in mediation to avoid a lengthy trial process. 

Steps to Take When Getting a Same-Sex Divorce

Here are the basic steps when getting a same-sex divorce.

Consider the Grounds for Divorce

Remember that grounds must be proved. If they include separation or desertion, the appropriate time frame must pass before the divorce is filed. If the parties opt for separation, a complaint for separation from bed and board can be filed and this often helps avoid disputes during a divorce

Choose the Right Attorney

The next step is to choose the right attorney – one with extensive experience serving the LGBTQ+ community. The attorney should understand the unique challenges to same-sex divorce in New Jersey.

Gather Important Information

Gather information about finances, property, and other assets for both parties. This information is used to determine a fair division of assets, spousal support, and child support. 

File for Divorce

Once all details are decided by the partner initiating the divorce and their attorney, the divorce papers need to be filed. These documents must be served on one’s partner, who has the right to contest anything in them. 

Consider Mediation 

If there are disagreements, mediation is recommended to help resolve them. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is cheaper and easier than litigating in court. 

If both parties agree on all key matters, they will still have to go before a judge to finalize their divorce. If no agreement is reached, evidence is presented in court and a judge rules on the division of assets, child custody, and other matters.

Why Choose Rosenblum for Your Same-Sex Divorce

Rosenblum has extensive experience handling LGBTQ+ divorce cases, both in same-sex marriages and civil unions. We can share many stories and testimonials from satisfied clients. 

Our compassionate and personalized legal services are tailored to your unique situation. We understand the complex emotions and financial woes you are facing as you file for divorce and go through the process. Our goal is not to blame sides, but to come to a fair and equitable arrangement with as little emotional and psychological damage as possible.


Who keeps the house in a same sex divorce in New Jersey?

There are several factors that courts consider when deciding who keeps the house in a divorce. These include contribution to the marital property, individual economic circumstances, child custody arrangements, the duration of the marriage, and the age and health of the parties.

Does it matter who files first in a same-sex divorce in New Jersey?

The courts don’t favor the petitioner over the defense, but there are still advantages to filing first. When you file first, the defense can only respond to evidence and statements made by the plaintiff. 

Who qualifies for alimony in New Jersey?

You can qualify for alimony in a same-sex divorce in New Jersey the same as you can in any divorce. Traditionally, alimony is reserved for when one partner makes a significantly higher income than the other. Usually it is limited in duration.

How long can a same-sex divorce take in New Jersey?

As a general rule, the courts will not allow a divorce case to last longer than 12 months.

Is New Jersey a 50/50 State?

New Jersey is not a 50/50 state. Instead, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which does not automatically mean that assets and property are divided equally. Rather, the idea is to leave both parties in as close to the same financial position as they have enjoyed as possible.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

If you have decided that divorce is right for you, take the first step toward a new beginning by contacting our offices. We offer a free consultation to learn about your case and determine how we can help. 

Scheduling your free consultation is easy, with several options. Visit our website to request a free consultation via our easy online form, or call us at (888) 815-3649.

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