Recognition and Legal Safeguards for Civil Unions in New Jersey

Family Lawyers Explaining Legal Relationships in Marriages vs. Civil Unions in Red Bank, Lavallette, Wall, and Surrounding Communities

Key Aspects of Moving from Civil Union to Marriage in New JerseyNew Jersey is one of a handful of states, along with Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, and Vermont, that established a formal, legal relationship for same-sex couples known as a civil union.  Before same-sex marriages were legal, civil unions were created to give couples the same benefits and protections as married heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, not all benefits were granted to those in a civil union. Federal benefits and Social Security do not recognize civil unions, and those in a civil union cannot file a joint Federal tax return.

Unique Factors of Marrying when You are in a Civil Union in New Jersey

It isn’t necessary if you are marrying the same person with whom you are in a civil union.  However, if you are going to marry someone other than your civil union partner, you must have the original civil union dissolved before you can legally marry. As for domestic partnerships, these are treated like civil unions in that they don’t need to be dissolved before marriage as long as you marry your domestic partner.  On the marriage license application, in part 6, you need to check the appropriate box regarding the status of your relationship.

Essential Documents for Marriage License Application

To apply for a marriage license, you must prove that you are who you are.  A driver’s license, passport, or state ID will do.  You will need to show proof of your residency.  You will have to give your social security number, have a witness at least 18 years old, and pay a $28 application fee.  Other documents that you will need to file are a copy of your birth certificate to review your parents’ names and related birth information.  If you have been in a previous civil union or are divorced, you must file documents indicating that those relationships have been legally terminated.  Lastly, if your former spouse or partner is deceased, you will need to bring the death certificate.

What is the Status of a Civil Union When Getting Married?

Unless you dissolve the civil union, it will remain registered with the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry after you marry your civil union partner.  If you get a divorce, the civil union will still be registered until you apply for a dissolution, and you will be unable to marry someone else until it is resolved.

Procedures for Converting Civil Unions to Marriages

Civil unions are apart from marriages in the sense that one does not magically convert one into the other.  Civil unions are valid and can be entered into as one sees fit.  If you are in a civil union and want to be married, you should apply for a marriage license and then have a marriage ceremony (at the courthouse or wherever you choose, as long as it is properly officiated.)

Marriage License Processing Time After Application Submission

Everyone, even couples in a civil union who have applied for a marriage license, must observe a 72-hour waiting period unless there are extenuating circumstances. A New Jersey Superior Court Judge can suspend the waiting period for an immediate marriage if it is an emergency.  An example of this would be if a future spouse has a terminal illness and wants to get married promptly.

Jurisdiction and Residency Elements to Consider

Being in a Civil Union Upon Entering into Marriage in Brick, New JerseyYou must apply at the registrar’s office in the municipality in which your partner lives.  However, this does not obligate the couple to get married in that municipality.  The marriage license is valid throughout the state.  Suppose the couple are not New Jersey residents. In that case, the marriage license must be obtained from the Registrar of the municipality where the ceremony is to take place and is only valid for use in that municipality.

Are Unions From Another States Valid In New Jersey?

New Jersey accepts all unions from other countries or states as long as they were enacted legally.  Same-sex couples coming into New Jersey benefit from all legal protections whether they are domestic partners, in a civil union, or married.

Contact Our Jersey Shore Family Law Offices with Your Civil Union Concerns in New Jersey

If you are looking to join a domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage, a lawyer can be of great help.  Prenuptial agreements can be applied to all relationships.  If you are planning to leave the country, it is a good idea to establish a power of attorney for each partner in case of a medical emergency.  Some countries do not recognize same-sex partnerships, and making medical decisions for your loved one may be problematic.

At The Bronzino Law Firm, our skilled family law attorneys have the experience you need. We have helped many couples just like you in Brielle, Tinton Falls, Freehold, Manasquan, Manchester, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties.  We want to ensure that your union is a happy occasion, something to celebrate.

If you are considering marriage and have questions about what to do or the requirements you must meet when your civil union still exists, call us today at (732) 812-3102 to discuss the many ways our firm can be of assistance.  You can also reach us online. Consultations are absolutely free.