Articles Posted in civil union

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In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to recognize same sex marriage.  Numerous states thus enact differing laws regarding the ability of same sex couples to marry infile000224065590-300x200 their states, with numerous states  passing laws to ban same sex marriage, and various states over the years, voting to allow same sex marriage.  Some states began to allow same sex couples to enter into “civil unions”.  New Jersey did so in 2006.  In 2012, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a potential law in New Jersey that would have allowed same sex marriage.

In 2012, President Obama became the first president to endorse same sex marriage, but stated that the legal decision should be up to the states.  In 2011, however, the Obama Administration had already instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), leading to the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor.

As family law practitioners, this blog has followed much of the evolving law on same sex marriage. In 2013, James Yudes wrote a blog about the decision in United States v. Windsor to strike down as unconstitutional provisions in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which defined “marriage” as only a legal union between on man and one woman as husband and wife , and defined the word “spouse” as referring only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.  In 2013, I also wrote a blog post about the case of Lewis v. Harris, 188 N.J. 415 (2006), in which the Supreme Court of New Jersey  held that the Legislature should afford same sex couples the same rights as married couples, either by allowing same sex couples to marry or creating an alternate solution.  New Jersey became the fourteenth state to recognize the right of same sex couples to marry.   In 2015, my former colleague wrote a blog about the milestone decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Supreme Court held that that all states must (a) no longer prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, and (b) must recognize same-sex marriages validly entered into.  The right of same sex couples to marry became the law of the land in the entire country.

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The Appellate Division this past week approved another decision by family court judge, Hon. Lawrence R. Jones, J.S.C., this time in the matter of Groh-v-Groh, which was decided back in March, 2014.  The parties in this case are a same sex couple who entered into a civil union in 2008, which they wished to end by 2014.   With the advice of independent matrimonial counsel, they entered into a written settlement agreement of their issues, and submitted a dual judgment of dissolution that would end their civil union on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.   Continue reading

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bill has passed the New Jersey Senate and Assembly and which is now before the governor that intends to amend the current alimony statute, N.J.S.A. 2A34-23.   At present, the alimony statute allows a court to consider (1) permanent alimony; (2) limited duration alimony; (3) rehabilitative alimony; and (4) reimbursement alimony.   Under permanent alimony, there is technically no end to alimony until the payor or payee spouse dies or the payee spouse remarries.   The new proposed alimony statute would replace “permanent alimony” with “open durational” alimony. Continue reading

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In a recent blog post, I discussed how U.S. v. Windsor, 570 US 7 (2013), in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) laid into question what the New Jersey Legislature’s response might be to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s directive in Lewis v. Harris 188 N.J. 415 (2006). Continue reading

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girlsThe case of US v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 7, (2013),  decided on the last day of the United States   Supreme Court’s term on June 26, 2013, declared unconstitutional certain provisions of Bill Clinton’s landmark legislation, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, commonly referred to as “DOMA”.  Continue reading