If national census data is extrapolated to New Jersey, there are as many as 7,700 children being raised by same-sex couples in the Garden State. What happens if the couple decides to separate or terminate their domestic partnership?

The 2004 New Jersey Domestic Partnership Act did not address these issues. As a result, attorneys have looked for guidance in other contexts, such as whether a “psychological parent-child relationship” exists. This would be of significant importance with regard to custody and visitation upon the breakup of a relationship.

In 2000, the New Jersey Supreme Court developed a four-prong test to determine the existence of psychological parenthood. The scope of this article does not permit a detailed discussion and, as we lawyers like to say, every case is “fact specific”. Anyone seeking an explanation of their legal rights and responsibilities should contact an experienced New Jersey Family Law attorney.

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