New Jersey Marriage and Civil Union Laws

New Jersey marriage and civil union requirements and information on common-law marriage.

What are the requirements for getting legally married in New Jersey?

New Jersey does not require a blood test before a marriage license will be issued. You can marry immediately after your marriage license is issued, and your license is good for 30 days after it's issued. After that time, you'll have to get a new one before you can marry.

In New Jersey, as in most states, you must be of the age of consent, not be too closely related to your intended spouse, not be married to anyone else, and have sufficient "mental capacity," meaning you understand what you are doing when you marry.

Does New Jersey have common-law marriage?

No. In New Jersey, you must obtain a marriage license and enter into a legal marriage in order to be considered married. Living together and taking the same name don't create a common-law marriage.

Does New Jersey have same-sex marriage?

No. Only persons of the opposite sex may get married in New Jersey. However, New Jersey does offer civil union partnerships for same-sex couples. A couple who creates a civil union in New Jersey have all the same rights and responsibilities as married people for purposes of state law. Federal law doesn't recognize civil unions, however. (Previously, New Jersey offered domestic partnerships. Such partnerships that were entered into before the civil union law took effect will still be recognized, but they offer fewer benefits.)

Learn about the proper legal steps to define and protect your relationship in the eyes of the law with Living Together: A Legal Guide, by Attorney Ralph Warner, Toni Ihara, J.D. and Attorney Frederick Hertz (Nolo), or Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples, by attorneys Denis Clifford, Frederick Hertz and Emily Doskow (Nolo).

Last updated 05/07/08

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