Domestic Partnerships in New Jersey
The Domestic Partnership Act became effective on July 10, 2004 and was amended by the Civil Union Act implemented on February 19, 2007.
Under the original Domestic Partnership Act same-sex couples age 18 or older and opposite-sex couples age 62 or older had to meet the requirements of the Act to register a Domestic Partnership.
The implementation of the Civil Union Act amended this requirement such that effective February 19, 2007 same-sex or opposite-sex couples must be age 62 or older and meet the remaining eligibility requirements of the Domestic Partnership Act to register as Domestic Partners.
Domestic Partnerships registered prior to February 19, 2007 are still valid and are afforded by the rights and benefits of Domestic Partners.
Applying For A Domestic Partnership(Brochure)
Eligibility & Registering a Domestic Partnership
Couples wishing to register a Domestic Partnership must be same sex or opposite sex couples who are both 62 years of age or older.
- Share a common residence in New Jersey or any other jurisdiction provided that at least one of the applicants is a member of a New Jersey State-administered retirement system;
- Both Applicants are jointly responsible for each other’s common welfare as evidenced by joint financial arrangements or joint ownership of real or personal property;
- Both Applicants agree to be jointly responsible for each other’s basic living expenses during the domestic partnership;
- Not be party to a marriage or civil union recognized by New Jersey law or a member of a domestic partnership with another individual;
- Not be related to each other by blood or affinity up to and including the fourth degree of consanguinity(simply stated, individuals who are first cousins or more distantly related);
- Chose to share each other’s lives in a committed relationship of mutual caring;
- Not have legally terminated another domestic partnership within the last 180 days. (This prohibition does not apply when the previous partnership ended due to the death of the other partner).
If the residence is outside the State of New Jersey, at least one of the applicants must provide proof of membership in a New Jersey State-administered retirement system by providing one of the following documents issued by the Division of Pensions and Benefits:
- A Personal Benefits Statement from the current or previous year;
- a 1099R from the current or previous year or
- a Certificate of Pension Membership.
Filing the Domestic Partnership
The Local Registrar in the municipality in which you register your Domestic Partnership will retain a copy of both the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership and the Certificate of Domestic Partnership. These documents will also be retained at the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry.
To show proof of a Registered Domestic Partnership, you must obtain a certified copy of the Certificate of Domestic Partnership. A certified copy can be obtained from either the Local Registrar where the event was registered or the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry. To obtain a copy of the certificate, you must identify the date and location of the filing for the Domestic Partnership, and provide identification to establish your identity.
Applicants must obtain an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership. The Affidavit must be completed and signed by both applicants at the same time, in the presence of a notary. The applicants must appear together to file the Affidavit with a Local Registrar of Vital Statistics at any municipality throughout the State and pay the required fee of $28. It is advisable to contact the Local Registrar’s Office in advance to ascertain if there are designated hours for accepting applications for marriage, civil union or domestic partnership.
Domestic Partnerships are not considered registered until the Affidavit has been filed with the Local Registrar’s Office and the Certificate of Domestic Partnership has been issued.
Each applicant must supply valid identification documentation that establishes name, age, date of birth and proof of residency. This may be supplied by one or more documents issued by a government agency, such as a certified copy of a birth certificate, driver’s license, military identification or state/county identification card. A registration or operator’s license for any motorized vehicle, such as motorcycles, boats, and motorhomes, to name a few, that must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Commission will be accepted. A passport or county issued ID will establish identity. A mortgage, lease, tax records or utility bills will establish residency.
Same-Sex Marriage Questions & Answers
- If I was married in another state, do I need to enter in a marriage in New Jersey in order to have my marriage recognized in New Jersey ? No. Just as with opposite-sex couples, so long as your out-of-state marriage is consistent with the laws and public policy of New Jersey, your marriage is valid and recognized in this State and you will not need to enter into a New Jersey marriage.
- If I am in a domestic partnership, and enter into a marriage with my current domestic partner, does the domestic partnership automatically dissolve? No. Your domestic partnership will remain intact and will still be on file with the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry after you enter into marriage with your domestic partner
- If I am currently in a civil union and wish to enter into marriage, do I have to dissolve my civil union prior to entering into marriage? You will not have to dissolve your civil union in order to enter into marriage so long as you are marrying your current civil union partner. However, if you wish to marry someone other than your civil union partner, then you must have your civil union dissolved before you can enter into marriage with someone else.
- If I am currently in a civil union and subsequently enter into a marriage with my current civil union partner, what happens to my civil union? Civil unions remain valid. Your civil union will remain intact and will still be on file with the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry after you enter into marriage with your civil union partner.
- Will my New Jersey Civil Union automatically convert to a marriage or must I receive a marriage license and thereafter engage in a marriage ceremony in order to be married in New Jersey? Civil Unions will not automatically convert to marriages. Civil unions remain valid and couples may continue to enter into civil unions if those so choose. A civil union couple will have to apply for and receive a marriage license and thereafter engage in a marriage ceremony in order to receive a marriage certificate.
- Can same-sex couples continue to apply for and enter into civil unions? Yes. The Civil Union Act remains in full force and effect.
- If a same-sex couple is already legally married in another state and wishes to enter into marriage in New Jersey, would the couple be entering into a marriage or a remarriage? The couple would be entering into a remarriage. Any couple married outside of the State that wishes to renew their marriage commitment in New Jersey may do so by applying for and receiving a remarriage license and thereafter engage in a remarriage ceremony, as set forth at N.J.S.A. 37:1-7. The 72 hour waiting period does not apply to remarriages.
- If I am currently in a civil union and applied for a marriage license with my current civil union partner, must I wait 72 hours before receiving my marriage license? Yes. All individuals, including those already in a civil union, who apply for marriage licenses must comply with the 72 hour waiting period unless a New Jersey Superior Court Judge enters an order waiving the wait period due to emergency circumstances.
- If I am currently in a civil union and wish to enter into marriage with my current civil union partner, should I apply for a remarriage license or a marriage license? Couples who are currently in a civil union and have not entered in a valid marriage outside of this State must apply for a marriage license, not a remarriage license, and must wait 72 hours before receiving their marriage license.
Terminating a Domestic Partnership
In order to Terminate a Domestic Partnership, you must file a request for termination with the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey. Following termination, you are responsible for notifying any entity that you had originally notified when you entered into the Domestic Partnership.