Although same-sex couples are no longer prohibited from getting married as a matter of federal law (and thus no longer limited to just domestic partnerships), some states still offer alternatives to marriage. These alternatives include civil unions as well as domestic partnerships. In New Jersey, couples have the option to enter into a legal relationship through a civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage. But, there are certain eligibility requirements when it comes to each of these arrangements.
New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act
The Domestic Partnership Act (DPA) went into effect in July 2004, and originally allowed same-sex couples over 18 and opposite-sex couples over 62 to register as domestic partners. However, with the passage of New Jersey's Civil Union Act in February 2007, the DPA was amended to be made available only to couples (whether same-sex or opposite-sex) who are over 62 years old. The DPA also applies to couples younger than 62 who entered into a domestic partnership before February 2007 and couples who entered into a domestic partnership outside of New Jersey.
New Jersey Domestic Partnership Laws at a Glance
When looking for answers to a legal question, it's important to read the literal language of the law. More often than not, however, laws are written in "legalese," making them difficult to understand. That's why reading a summary of the laws in plain English can help you better understand what the law is all about. The following chart provides a summary of New Jersey domestic partnership laws, along with links to the relevant statutes.
||New Jersey Statutes 26 Section 8A-1, et seq. (Domestic Partnership Act)
A couple can register as domestic partners if:
- They're both over 62 years old;
- They aren't related by blood or through marriage up to and including fourth degree consanguinity [PDF];
- They share a common residence in New Jersey (or another state, if at least one applicant is a member of a retirement system administered by New Jersey);
- Neither partner is part of a marriage, civil union, or marriage to someone else;
- They're jointly responsible for each other's welfare and basic living expenses;
- They're in a committed relationship of mutual caring; and
- Neither partner has legally terminated* a domestic partnership within the past 180 days.
*This does not include death of a previous domestic partner.
|Registering a Domestic Partnership
Applicants must file an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with a Local Registrar of Vital Statistics and pay the required fee.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
New Jersey Domestic Partnership Laws: Related Resources
For more information related to this topic, please click on the links below.
Have Questions About New Jersey Domestic Partnership Laws? Get Legal Help
Even though marriage is now legal for everyone, couples that satisfy the criteria discussed above have the option of becoming domestic partners instead of getting married. If you have questions about New Jersey domestic partnerships laws, or other family law-related issues, it's best to speak with a local family law attorney.