Pride, Even In The Pandemic
June 12, 2020
BY: Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich
Same-sex Divorce in New Jersey During the Pandemic
Although the 50th anniversary of the New York City Pride parade may be virtual – on Sunday, June 28th, with the hashtag #thefutureisvirtual – even the novel coronavirus cannot cancel Pride. June is Pride month, during which the LBGTQ + community rightly celebrates its victories in civil rights, from the Stonewall riots of 1969 to the Supreme Court’s nationwide legalization of marriage of 2015. Many cities and towns across America will hold their own social distanced or virtual Pride festivities; be sure to check them out in your town, either as a proud, out citizen, or as a gay ally.
Of course, with the legalization of same-sex marriage, there inevitably was same-sex divorce in New Jersey – the sad, and oftentimes painful, dissolution of a marriage. The same problems that a straight couple may have, and not be able to ultimately make their marriage work, are bound to come up in a same-sex marriage (For more on this topic, please visit our page on same-sex divorce in New Jersey).
Now, however, I want to offer you three tips that a same-sex couple who are exploring the possibility of divorce should consider:
1. Get current! Be sure you are informed of the most up-to-date laws concerning non-biological, non-adopted children in your relationship. Since many same-sex marriages involve children, and laws are revised constantly by State Legislatures, you want to make sure you know your rights concerning children in your state. For instance, in New Jersey, when you are neither the biological nor the adoptive parent of a child, you must first demonstrate to a court that you are a “psychological parent,” before custody and parenting time will be decided. A four-part test is utilized to determine whether an individual qualifies as a psychological parent as follows:
The legal parent must consent to and foster the relationship between the third party and the child;
The third-party must have lived with the child;
The third-party must perform parental functions for the child to a significant degree; and
A parent-child bond must be formed.
2. What’s your status? The same way Facebook asks for your relationship status, be clear in identifying your relationship to an attorney or financial advisor with whom you might be speaking: are you married? in a domestic partnership? in a civil union? are you co-habitants? The interpretation of laws regarding an upcoming divorce may be clarified by who exactly you are to each other.
3. Get organized! Gather and organize all your financial documents, titles to property, insurance information, etc. before seeking advice. This applies not only to same-sex couples but to all couples seeking to end their partnership. And if you’re organized, the pro-tip here is that it may save you money in fees down the line.
As we rightly celebrate Gay Pride this month, we also know that not everything works out in the end in same-sex marriages. However, there is a dignified way to advance through a divorce – a way that can make us feel pride in our behavior during divorce, too.
New Jersey Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers
If you are in a same-sex marriage and may be facing a divorce, you might need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to guide you through some very complex and unique issues.
At Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC, our team of New Jersey same-sex divorce lawyers are experienced, dedicated, and committed to helping those going through very difficult times.