Domestic partnerships are quite beneficial as they can legally benefit two individuals who are not married to each other or anyone else. Benefits such as access to an insurer, employer and hospital visitation rights are granted to domestic partners.
How to Register the domestic partnerships?
Domestic partnership registration first began in the 1980s to grant rights to same-sex couples, later it was extended to opposite-sex couples as well. A domestic partnership is also known as a civil union, civil partnership or registered partnership.
Domestic Partnership VS Living Relationship
A domestic partnership is not considered to be a committed relationship between two people, and some organizations need proper evidence to avoid fraud. However, if the insurance carrier recognizes a domestic partnership, some employers will accept it and provide soft benefits such as sick leaves for a partner, or care for a partner’s child and hard benefits such as access to vision, dental and health insurance.
Domestic partner benefits can be found on Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples that provide lists of private employers, colleges and private schools, governments, unions, and insurance providers that accept domestic partnerships.
Drawbacks of Domestic Partnerships
Unless the people receiving benefits qualify as a dependent under the internal revenue code, meaning that they receive half of their support from their taxpayer, domestic partner benefits plan are taxable income by the federal government. Transfers of assets or funds or inheritances between partners are taxable as well. Couples or Domestic partners must file separate federal tax returns. Couples do not have the right to seek compensation from each other and might not be pension recipients. However, a committed marriage annuls this condition.
Domestic Partnership VS Marriage License
Marriage and domestic partnerships are very different from each other legally since benefits are not portable. The domestic partnership has been questioned because it is not recognized in many cities, states or countries which can lead to incurring more financial responsibilities than benefits.
Registering as a domestic partnership have many legal requirements besides establishing rights, if you or anyone you know is looking to register as domestic partners, following is a list of legal requirements:
- A living together agreement
- A hospital visitation authorization
- Living wills or directive to physicians
- Power of attorney for finances
- Power of attorney for health care
- Living (revocable) trusts
- Legal precautions for partners who are parenting
There are many resources available such as Nolo press and certain chapters from a legal guide for lesbian and gay couples that provide relevant information on domestic partner benefits.
Are you already bound in a Domestic Partnership?
Finding out about the rules and legal status of domestic partnerships is important in your area and that’s the first step to take. You can check from your city clerk’s office as they usually have general information on such topics and can further direct you to suitable organizations that can help your case.
The general requirements to register as domestic partners include:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Both the individuals involved in a domestic relationship cannot be married to a third person;
- The should be living together, and must plan to live together forever;
- Not be related by blood (or marriage) as to bar marriage in the State;
- Be psychologically capable of consenting the agreement;
- Reside in the city where the domestic partnership is offered, or one partner must be employed by the city;
- Agree to be responsible for each other’s common welfare, to be jointly responsible for each other’s basic living expenses.
Other requirements of having a valid domestic partnership include:
- Be in a committed relationship that has existed for some period (from 6 to 12 months);
- No consent of one party may be attained by intimidation, coercion, or deception in a domestic partnership;
- Not been part of a domestic partnership or marriage within a certain number of days previously (usually matches the state’s waiting period between divorce and remarriage, if any)
Once all your requirements have been fulfilled, the registration process itself is easy. There is an application that needs to be submitted provided to you by the county clerk’s office. A registration fee ranging from 25$ to 75$ needs to be paid and an affidavit of domestic partnership has to be signed with witnesses present, either a clerk or notary. An affidavit confirms your qualification and the terms under which you would have to notify the clerk’s office if the domestic partnership should end.
Once you’ve been qualified you will receive a copy of your domestic partnership certificate or a laminated wallet card, depending on your state.
A laminated wallet card is also a substitute for if you don’t want a wedding band.