Articles Posted in LGBT

As our society and culture continues to evolve, the concept of a family keeps shifting as well. But as with all family relationships, disputes may occur that require lawyers and the Family Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey Court to resolve the matter in a way that not only serves the best interests of the child but the needs of new family relationships as well. As the attorneys at our law firm study all new cases involving New Jersey child custody matters, we found a brand new case that provides for an unprecedented “tri-parenting arrangement.” Following please find a complete analysis of this potentially trend setting case that addresses issues such as a psychological parent, expands the rights of the LGBT population and embraces contemporary family situations.

New Jersey divorce lawyer

The case of D.G. and S.H. v. K.S., addressed issues of custody, removal, and support between three friends to conceive and jointly raise a child in a tri-parenting arrangement. In 2009 K.S. gave birth to a daughter, O.S.H. The biological father of O.S.H. is D.G. The third party, S.H., is D.G.’s same-sex spouse, who bonded with and became a psychological parent of O.S.H. After a long and arduous trial, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part, Ocean County, awarded joint legal and joint residential custody of O.S.H. to all three parties, and denied the application of K.S. to remove and relocate the child to a different state.

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Even though I practice New Jersey Divorce and Family Law, I have always, since Law School, loved the study of our Constitutional and the times it has been challenged. As such, I have been closely following the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as it has gone through several rounds of challenges. A brief background: in 1996, the United States Congress ratified DOMA in anticipation of states starting to allow same-sex marriage. This legislation was enacted with the overarching spirit that the federal government would not recognize same-sex marriages and gave state legislatures the right to not acknowledge them as well. These two points are stated in the two most controversial parts of the act:

Part 2: States are left completely on their own (as well as tribes and territories, and possessions of the United States) to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state, tribe, territory or possession. So if you are a gay couple married in New York (where same-sex marriage is legal) and you decide to a move to a state where it is unrecognized, your new state does not have to recognize it.

How does DOMA Part 2 affect Gay and Lesbian Couples living in New Jersey? Well if they are married in New York (where same-sex marriage is legal) and then move to New Jersey (where same-sex marriage is not legal), NJ is not required to recognize you as a married couple.

Part 3: This part states that under no circumstances can same-sex couples be viewed as married under any and all federal laws, programs, rights, and cannot derive any benefits. As such, any department administering rights and benefits must disregard valid state issued marriage licenses to same sex couples. Additionally, for federal purposes, marriage can only be the legal union of a man and a woman and spouse can only refer to a partner in a couple of the opposite sex.

How does this affect Gay and Lesbian Couples? If you are in a same sex relationship, and one partner works for the federal government, the other is not entitled to health insurance benefits.
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