NJ Divorce, Child Custody and Family Law Attorneys
On October 21, 2013, Governor Chris Christie conceded a hard-fought battle to prevent same-sex couples from having the right to marry in New Jersey. Following the enactment of the Domestic Partnership Act in 2004 and the Civil Union Act in 2007, this was the last major step toward achieving marriage equality in New Jersey.
At Romanowski Law Offices, we bring decades of family law experience to helping same-sex couples with all matters relating to marriage and divorce. Attorney Curtis Romanowski has literally written the book on New Jersey family law, and all of our lawyers are intimately familiar with the laws and procedures involved in dissolving marriages through litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and Collaborative Divorce. If you are seeking to end your same-sex marriage, you can rely on our dedication, advocacy, and commanding knowledge of the law to help you achieve a just outcome.
Looking Back: The Road to Marriage Equality in New Jersey
Advocates of same-sex marriage faced a long and difficult road to achieving marriage equality in New Jersey. Marriage equality is critical to gay and lesbian couples not only because of the benefits that marriage provides, but also because of the rights and remedies that are available to spouses when seeking to file for a divorce. When Governor Christie withdrew the State’s appeal of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow, this sealed the fate of unequal legal treatment of same-sex couples in New Jersey. This is how we got where we are today:
- January 10, 2012 – The New Jersey Senate proposed Senate Bill No. 1, which would legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey.
- February 16, 2012 – Senate Bill No. 1 passed in both houses of the legislature, putting it on the path to become law.
- February 17, 2012 – Governor Christie vetoed the Senate Bill No. 1, arguing that the issue of legalization of same-sex marriage should be left to the voting process.
- June 26, 2013 – The U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of United States v. Windsor, holding that the federal government could not deny benefits to same-sex couples that were legally married under state law. This decision struck down what had been a key aspect of the Defense of Marriage Act, but still left it to the states to decide whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage.
- September 27, 2013 – Citing the New Jersey Constitution’s equal protection clause, the New Jersey Mercer County Superior Court issued a decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow in which it directed state officials to allow same-sex couples to marry.
- October 18, 2013 – After accepting the State’s request for direct review of the lower court’s decision a week earlier, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied the State’s request to prevent same-sex marriage while the review was pending. In denying the request, the Supreme Court stated that the State did not have “a reasonable probability of success on the merits” of its challenge.
- October 21, 2013 – Governor Christie withdrew the State’s challenge, allowing the decision to authorize same-sex marriages to stand.
Once the court’s decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow became final, the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics – the agency responsible for issuing marriage licenses – announced that same-sex couples that had previously entered into domestic partnerships and civil unions would be able to apply for marriage licenses without first dissolving their existing relationships.
Ending Your Same-Sex Marriage
If your relationship has reached its end, the attorneys at Romanowski Law Offices can help you through the process of filing for divorce. We have extensive experience representing spouses in dissolution proceedings for both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. We provide thorough, personalized, and detail-oriented legal advice, and serve as vigorous advocates for our clients in:
Depending on your goals and the current nature of your relationship, a divorce can take any number of different turns. We focus on helping our clients understand their options and make informed decisions about spousal support, custody and visitation, child support, and division of property so that they can comfortably move on with their lives once the process is over. If you run into problems or circumstances change after the dust settles – which happens from time to time – we can help you file motions for modification and enforcement as well.
Speak with an Experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney about Your Divorce
When representing a client in a divorce, our lawyers strive to minimize the burdens of the process while protecting our client’s best interests. If you are considering filing for divorce in New Jersey, call (732) 603-8585 or contact us online to request an expert consultation today.