Tanya L. Freeman

LGBTQ Divorce: Our experience can help you find a different way out

By Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law

One of the biggest misconceptions we find among LGBTQ+ clients who seek our help is that “divorce is divorce.” They have been led to believe that, because societal mores have become more tolerant, the same separation strategies apply as with other types of unions. While the rules of law may be the same, the attitudes held by judges and witnesses can inject even greater uncertainty across what is already an emotional minefield for most clients.

At Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law. We appreciate, respect, and celebrate the desire of everyone to follow their life’s path. We also understand that a partner whom society may see as “different” will need a distinct approach to achieving a satisfactory marriage dissolution. While exploring many of the same considerations as with hetero-aligned relationships, we may also look at:

  • What stressors have contributed to the dissolution of the marriage and how might they impact divorce resolution?

  • How will the change or lack of change in societal attitudes affect how your demands are presented or how your offense/defense is positioned?

  • What discriminatory claims might a divorcing spouse use to discredit your parental capabilities?

  • And much more. 

We are experienced in handling the additional complexities that come with unwinding LGBTQ+ partnerships. Changing these relationships can be especially difficult, fraught with pressures and unusually strong emotions. These are the times when you need, more so than ever, a skilled attorney working on your behalf.

Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law, offers clarity, focus, and knowledgeable advice, so you can make the decisions you need to move onward.

Need Legal Advice About LBGTQ Divorce?

Call Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law

At (973) 939 0100!

What You Need to Know About LBGTQ Divorce in New Jersey

When same-sex couples decide to dissolve their marriage, they go through the same legal process as opposite-sex couples. The process can involve an uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on the terms of the separation, or a mediated divorce, where a neutral third party aids the parties in coming to an agreement. In more complicated cases, the divorce may be contested and require litigation.

It is important to note that in New Jersey, couples who are already in civil unions or domestic partnerships can legally marry without ending their existing union or partnership. This means that same-sex couples seeking a divorce may need to terminate their civil union or domestic partnership in addition to their marriage. The legal process for dissolving these types of unions can vary depending on the couple’s specific circumstances.

Terminating a Civil Union or Domestic Partnership

In the state of New Jersey, registered domestic partnerships with limited rights were first recognized in 2004, followed by civil unions in 2007. If a couple wishes to dissolve their civil union or domestic partnership, the legal process mirrors that of divorcing couples. This involves filing a complaint for dissolution and a case information statement, as well as participating in case management conferences and potentially engaging in formal discovery.

It is worth noting that New Jersey civil union couples are entitled to all of the same legal rights and benefits as married couples. This means that they may encounter similar issues when ending their relationship. Conversely, domestic partners typically share fewer legal rights and may encounter fewer complications during the dissolution process. However, the overall procedure remains the same.

Common Issues for Couples Ending Same-Sex Relationships

It is a well-known fact that all parents are bound by child custody and child support laws. However, it is worth noting that same-sex couples with children may face unique challenges. For instance, many same-sex couples have children who are either adopted or the biological offspring of just one partner. In some cases, a same-sex partner who is not the biological or adoptive parent may still have parental rights if they have acted as the child’s parent in a family relationship. It is important to understand that this area of law can be quite complex and may require the assistance of legal professionals with experience in this field.

Child Custody and Visitation

Regarding child custody and visitation orders in New Jersey, the “best interests of the child” are always prioritized. This means that the law assumes a child benefits from having regular and ongoing contact with both legal parents unless specific circumstances suggest otherwise. It’s important to note that New Jersey has three common custody arrangements, each with unique characteristics and requirements.

Joint Legal Custody

The first arrangement is joint legal custody, which involves both parents making major decisions for the child. In this scenario, one parent is the primary residential custodian, while the other is the alternate. This means that the child primarily resides with one parent, but the other parent still has an active role in their upbringing and decision-making process.

Sole Legal and Physical Custody

The second arrangement is sole legal and physical custody, which grants one parent both legal and physical custody of the child. This means that they are responsible for all major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, as well as their day-to-day care and well-being.

Shared Legal and Physical Custody

The third and final arrangement is shared legal and physical custody, which involves equal or nearly equal parenting time for both parents. In this scenario, both parents participate equally in decision-making and caring for the child.

Our law firm comprehends the significance of safeguarding your rights as a parent and ensuring a positive relationship with your child. Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to providing you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the complex world of child custody and visitation orders in New Jersey. Whether you’re seeking joint, sole, or shared custody, we’re here to help you achieve a favorable outcome that serves the best interests of you and your child.

New Jersey Child Support Formula

In New Jersey, both parents are legally obligated to financially support their children. The determination of the amount of child support for each case is based on a basic child support allocation amount, which is calculated according to the percentage of total income earned by each parent. This allocation is then adjusted to account for additional factors, such as the amount of time the child spends with each parent. While these calculations can be complex, the state has established the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines to provide assistance. These guidelines, found in New Jersey Court Rule 5:6A and Appendix IX, offer a formula that accurately calculates base child support payments for most parents in the state.

Within Appendix IX, there is a comprehensive table that outlines the fundamental support amounts that correspond to the number of children in the family as well as the combined net weekly income of the parents. Furthermore, the guidelines incorporate three expense categories to account for parenting time adjustments.

Fixed Expenses

These include housing costs, such as rent or mortgage, and utility payments. 

Controlled Expenses

Controlled expenses refer to items such as clothing, personal care products or services, most entertainment, and miscellaneous items.

Variable Expenses

These include costs such as food, transportation, and occasional entertainment that are within the control of the parent currently caring for the child.

It is important to note that the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are not intended to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, they are designed to provide a framework for determining child support payments that are fair and equitable for all parties involved. Additionally, it is important to seek the guidance of a qualified legal professional when facing child support issues to ensure that your rights and the rights of your children are protected.

Property Division and Alimony

In the event that you are considering ending a civil union or divorce, it is important to understand that the distribution of marital property and spousal support regulations are the same. It is worth noting that any valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreements may also have an impact on these issues. 

However, in the case of ending a domestic partnership, equitable distribution and alimony are generally not considered because domestic partnerships do not create the same shared property rights or responsibility for debts. It is possible that domestic partners may have cohabitation agreements that can affect post-relationship property rights or partner support. 

If you and your partner have lived together for many years and then entered a civil union or marriage, there may be some questions about equitable property division and alimony. It is important to understand that the law is still evolving in this area, so there is no definitive answer. If you have any questions or concerns about your specific situation, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule an initial consultation and obtain more information.

Why Do You Need to Hire an LGBTQ Divorce Attorney?

Everybody’s situation is unique, and the way that same-sex couples and LGBTQ people are treated under New Jersey law and other state and federal legislation is always changing. Therefore, talking about your concerns with knowledgeable lawyers who fully comprehend how these developments may affect your particular circumstance is crucial.

Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney At Law, strongly emphasizes meeting each client’s needs. We listen carefully and allow our clients to choose their objectives. Our mission is to give you the knowledge and guidance you need to safeguard your rights and make the best choices for your future as well as the future of your family. We also recognize that family law issues are complex and can include powerful and conflicting emotions.

Legal Support for LGBTQ Divorce in New Jersey

Given the emerging and evolving nature of LGBTQ family law issues in New Jersey and nationwide, we recommend you speak with a skilled family lawyer like Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney At Law. Our team provides legal consultation and advice to clients in New Jersey about child support, civil unions, marriage, divorce, and LGBTQ-related issues. We are a skilled and compassionate group of legal professionals committed to assisting you in identifying the legal options that will work best for you and the people you value the most. Set an appointment with our LGBTQ divorce attorney to learn more

Looking for a Reputable LGBTQ Divorce Law Firm?
Contact Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law
at (973) 939-0100!

Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law
100 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite 105
East Hanover, New Jersey 07936
(973) 939-0100