Marriage


Learn the Truth About Domestic Partnership

Learn the Truth About Domestic Partnership

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Learn the Truth About Domestic PartnershipDomestic partnerships are relationships between two partners that are not married. The couple can consist of same sex or opposite sex partners. In domestic partnership, the couple co-habitats without any other legal recognition of their relationship. In some cases, the couple lives together and has taken part in a domestic partnership agreement. 


Domestic partnership agreements are not legally recognized in many states. In Fact,  domestic partnership laws vary greatly and there is no clear definition for a domestic partnership agreement or for what is allowed to be included. In fact, the rights and benefits included in a domestic partnership agreement will vary in each state. 


In some cases, couples are entitled to many of the rights and responsibilities associated with marriage and in other cases they are not. Domestic partnership agreements are generally considered to be similar to common law marriage and usually include the rights conferred in a legal marriage.


Domestic partnership laws can vary greatly in each state. In fact, some states do not legally recognize same sex relationships in any form. In those states, same sex couples are not entitled to any of the rights normally reserved for marriages between opposite sex couples. 

Domestic partnership agreements are utilized to protect each individuals contribution to the relationship and to protect individual and shared, property and assets. The first legal domestic partnership agreement was proposed in California in the late seventies. Due to the proposal, domestic partnership was legally defined and put into action in Berkeley, California. In fact, California was at the forefront of legally recognizing same sex relationships. 


However, the federal government enacted the Defense of Marriage Act, which means that the federal government only legally recognizes opposite sex relationships. Therefore, domestic partners are not entitled to any federal benefits that are normally associated with marriage. Federal rights include pensions, tax breaks and issues related to legal immigration for no resident partners.


Domestic partnerships agreements generally confer certain rights and responsibilities to partners. For instance, Couples may be able to inherit property in the absence of a will. In addition, couples are entitled to a portion of that property and other assets, should they split up. 


Domestic partnership laws are in place to protect each individuals contributions to a relationship. In fact, some states allow partners to collect separation  maintenance if they separate. Couples may also be entitled to shared health benefits in some states.


Domestic partnership laws that allow for legal recognition of certain rights associated with same sex relationships, are in place in 9 states. Couples that reside in states without legal recognition of their relationship, are not entitled to any of the rights and responsibilities associated with marriage. 


In some cases, domestic partnership laws are in place to forbid a legal recognition of a same sex relationship. However, many states are starting to pass laws that offer some recognition of  the rights of same sex couples.

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