If you are in a same-sex relationship, and are currently in a domestic partnership, you absolutely must enter into a civil union. The New Jersey Legislature has made a distinction between the rights of a domestic partner and the rights of a partner in a civil union. For example, real estate laws are different, inheritance laws are different, your right to adopt is different…. Children born during a civil union are presumed to be a child of both parents. There are significant and important differences, which is why New Jersey Legislature has attempted to convey upon partners in civil unions the rights of marriage. I highly suggest that you enter and convert your domestic partnership into a civil union. It does not automatically convert, and you must take affirmative steps to change this.
Alison C. Leslie, Esq. practices family law exclusively in her Morristown, NJ offices, where she offers her clients the individualized attention of a solo practitioner with the experience of a larger firm.