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Same-sex marriage trends following legalization

New Jersey residents may be aware that same-sex marriage became legal in late June, 2015, following a landmark ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Following this ruling, same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states, including in 14 states that had not previously legalized gay marriage.

Within the last decade, the public support for same-sex marriage has continued to increase. According to a survey from Pew Research Center, approximately 62 percent of American citizens support same-sex marriage while 32 percent do not. However, there are still demographic divides over same-sex marriage. For example, 85 percent of Americans who are not affiliated to a religion support same-sex marriage. On the other hand, 44 percent of black Protestants support same-sex marriage. Younger individuals also generally are more likely to favor same-sex marriage than Baby Boomers and those who are in the Silent Generation.

As the public support for same-sex marriage rises, the number of same-sex unions increase. Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, 61 percent of same-sex couples who live together are married. This is up from 38 percent before the ruling. One of the main reasons to get married for the majority of same-sex individuals is love, though companionship, legal rights and benefits also made the list for top reasons.

As more same-sex couples tie the knot, the rate of divorce among same-sex couples is also likely to rise. If a marriage does not survive, the former couple will still have to divide up their marital property and work through child custody disputes if they had children. If one parent is seeking sole or primary custody, a family law attorney may assist with negotiating a shared parenting agreement so that the children have access to both parents. If the parent is seeking sole custody because the other parent has a history of substance abuse or domestic violence, the attorney may assist with bolstering the claim with evidence.

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