In Groh v. Groh, 2014 N.J. Super. LEXIS 182 (Ch.Div. Mar. 12, 2014), Judge Jones drew attention to the fact that N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2, the statute regarding the dissolution of a marriage, and N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2.1, the statute regarding the dissolution of a civil union, were almost identical. At the time of the enactment of N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2.1, opposite-sex couples were not able to obtain a no fault divorce based upon irreconcilable differences. Soon thereafter, however, new legislation was enacted which enabled opposite-sex couples to divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. Judge Jones noted that "the amendment was clearly intended and designed to permit people to end their marriages in a calm and dignified manner without having to engage in hurtful and unproductive mudslinging over who was at fault for the failure of the partnership." Groh, 2014 N.J. Super at *6. However, N.J.S.A.2A:34-2.1 was not updated to include grounds of irreconcilable differences for same-sex couples.
Judge Jones highlighted that both Governor Christie and the Administrative Office of the Courts informally interpreted the irreconcilable differences amendment to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2 as being applicable to both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships. Groh, 2014 N.J. Super at *9. He further stated that there was no basis in public policy or logic to deny same-sex couples said relief. As such, Judge Jones granted the divorce of the same-sex parties inGroh based on grounds of irreconcilable differences. Id. at *13.
Notably, New Jersey now recognizes same-sex marriages, and the divorce statute applies both to opposite-sex and same-sex marriages.
If you have questions about divorce, please contact the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.