Can I Get a Civil Union in New Jersey?

Can I Get a Civil Union in New Jersey?

If you are part of a same-sex relationship in New Jersey, you may be considering a civil union. While a civil union might not be the same as marriage, it is a legal partnership that provides you with many of the same rights. Before you obtain a civil union, it is important to learn more about some of the legal ramifications. If you need some guidance as you decide whether or not a civil union is the right choice for you, it is best to consult with a legal expert.

What is a Civil Union?

According to New Jersey state law, the definition of a civil union is a legally recognized union of two same-sex individuals. This type of legal partnership gives same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple.

In order to obtain a civil union in New Jersey, you must meet a number of requirements:

  • You and your partner must be the same sex
  • Both you and your partner can’t already be part of another civil union or a domestic partnership
  • You and your partner both have to be at least 18

Once you have obtained a civil union, you can enjoy the same rights as a married couple. These include:

  • You can refuse to provide testimony against your civil union partner
  • You can your partner can jointly own property
  • You have the right to family leave benefits
  • You have the same inheritance rights as a married couple
  • You have the right to file wrongful death lawsuits in some cases

There are many other rights that you will enjoy after obtaining a civil union. If in doubt, just remember that New Jersey state law makes it clear that civil union partners have all of the same protections, rights, and benefits as a married couple.

Is a Civil Union the Same as Marriage?

New Jersey is essentially one step short of actually legalizing marriage between same-sex individuals. A Civil Union is a compromise for the most part, as it gives you the exact same legal rights as a married couple without the legal “label” of a married couple. In the end, the difference between a marriage and a civil union is mostly down to semantics.

That being said, it is important to note that your civil union rights may not be respected at the federal level. You may also discover that your civil union is not recognized in different states.

What are Some Alternatives to a Civil Union?

A civil union is not the only option for same-sex couples who want to form a legal partnership. Here are some additional options

  • You can travel to a different country (such as Canada) and get a legal marriage as a same-sex couple. While this is a legal marriage, New Jersey will still consider it a civil union when you return to the state
  • You can get a domestic partnership If you have obtained a domestic partnership before 2007, you must terminate it in order to get a civil union. After 2007, only individuals aged 62 or older are eligible for domestic partnerships
  • You can sign a non-marital agreement. Among other things, these types of agreements allow you to clearly outline how assets will be divided in the event of separation.

Getting Legal Help

If you are considering a civil union, it makes sense to speak with a legal expert who can guide you in the right direction. Even though you do not need an attorney to obtain a civil union, it is important to protect your property and assets before signing the agreement. An experienced attorney can help you create a prenuptial agreement. Reach out to Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law today and get the legal help you need.


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