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New Jersey significantly expanded the legal rights and responsibilities of committed same-sex couples as part of the State Supreme Court's 2006 decision regarding marriage. Following this decision, the New Jersey Legislature enacted a civil unions bill, providing same-sex couples all of the rights, benefits, and obligations of married couples under state law. Although the civil unions bill provides important new rights, including parenting rights, property rights, tax benefits, and support obligations, it does not provide rights and benefits under federal law, and the rights available under New Jersey law may not be recognized in other states. This thoroughly updated edition of the 2004 guide provides advice to couples in regard to these critical areas of law. Written by one of New Jersey's leading experts on the legal issues surrounding same-sex unions, "New Jersey Same-Sex Couples" is directed at the layperson and is designed to provide practical advice to couples who live in New Jersey or are thinking about relocating to the state from elsewhere. It also provides useful advice to those couples who may be considering updating their domestic partnership to a civil union, as well as to those who are not yet ready to enter into a civil union.
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Stephen J. Hyland is an attorney in Westmont, New Jersey, where he specializes in estate planning, family matters, and the rights of same-sex couples. He was previously a partner at Hill Wallack LLP.
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