Imagine that you lived with your partner and shared finances for 30 years before finally getting married. Then imagine that soon after saying “I do” you decided to get a divorce. What happens to your shared finances? Should only assets gained after the marriage count when you spent decades living, for all intents and purposes, as a married couple? What if during most of those 30 years you lived together the law didn’t allow you to marry? Does that change anything? Read more
Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Significant Other, Soon-to-be-Ex…? The options seem to be endless and growing. Perhaps the only thing any of us can really count on from one day to the next is—it’s complicated! Read more
The U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down of a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has given new energy and fuel to forces within the state working to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey. In the last week, two important developments have developed that seem to have the state edging closer to making changes concerning this issue. Read more
Live with your partner, but never tied the knot, and now want to know what legal options are available in the event you break up? You are not alone, according to a recent poll of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer (AAML) members that revels a spike in the number of court battles between couples who had previously lived together. Overall, 48 percent of attorneys surveyed noted an increase in court cases involving cohabiting couples. At the same time, 39 percent of lawyers cite a rise in couples who seek cohabitation agreements. Read more
After a remarkable about-turn in the New Jersey Senate last week (in which a bill approving gay marriage was passed by a majority vote), both sides of the political spectrum have begun to weigh in on the legislation and its possible repercussions. Read more
New Jersey has taken the next big step forward towards passing legislation that legalizes gay marriage. On Monday (appropriately, the day before Valentine’s), the state Senate passed a bill creating an environment of equality for same-sex couples throughout the state. New Jersey is moving forward to join the ranks of the six U.S. States (and Washington, D.C.) that already allow same-sex marriage.
With a vote of 8-4, the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, marking the first significant development in gay marriage rights since December 2006, when civil unions were enacted in the state.
In the debate before the vote, proponents of same-sex marriage relayed personal stories of discrimination and pointed out flaws in the current civil union law. (New Jersey’s civil union law is being challenged in state court by Lambda Legal, a national gay-rights advocacy group, which argues that civil unions in New Jersey don’t provide the same benefits and protections as marriage.)
Bill opponents argued that changes to the state’s marriage laws would diminish the meaning of marriage and quotes from the Bible condemning homosexuality and its supporters, NJ.com reports.
After the vote, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a first-term Republican, spoke out to say that he plans to veto the bill. He also challenged the State Legislature to instead put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide in the November election. A voter referendum on same-sex marriage is an “alternative path” to finally resolve the issue, Christie said. He then compared the gay marriage bill to a movie.
“We all know how this movie is going to end,” Christie, 49, told reporters after the Senate committee made its decision. “If they pass the bill, and they know this, it’s going to be vetoed. If they attempt to override that, the veto will be sustained. And they know that, so I’m trying to give them an alternate movie.”
If a statewide referendum on gay marriage were to occur, and the measure passed, New Jersey would become the first U.S. state where same-sex couples’ right to wed is approved by a public vote. Court rulings or legislation led to the gay marriage measures passing in the six states and the District of Columbia where it’s legal. Voters have rejected legalization in all 31 referendums on the issue, according to Freedom to Marry, a New York-based national advocacy organization.
Proponents of same-sex marriage are strongly urging Gov. Christie to rethink his veto plan. “Marriage equality isn’t like sports betting,” Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat, told the NYT, making reference to another amendment that was recently passed through a referendum. “It’s a civil right, which is already guaranteed in our Constitution. It’s up to the Legislature to guarantee these rights.” Lesniak sponsored the bill.
But if a vote on gay marriage happened today in New Jersey? It looks like it just might pass. Last week, a poll from Quinnipiac University (via the Wall Street Journal) found 52% support for gay marriage among New Jersey voters, the first time approval has edged over the 50% mark.
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