Domestic partnerships are legally binding and usually utilized by same sex couples, in states that legally allow it. Domestic partnership agreements are akin to prenuptial agreements and can be inclusive of other legal agreements that pertain to marriage.
They are contracts that offer couples some of the rights and responsibilities that are generally reserved for marriage. In fact, domestic partnerships can be utilized as an estate planning tool, just as prenuptial agreements.While almost 1/5 of the United States currently have domestic partnership laws, many do not. In fact, many states forbid the legal recognition of same sex relationships, by any definition.
Domestic partnerships are utilized by same sex couples that wish to have their relationship legally recognized and protected. In some states, domestic partnership is the only legally recognized term for same sex couples. In general, domestic partnerships mirror civil unions and same sex marriage. For some individuals in the LGBT community, the term used in not as important as the rights afforded through recognition.
However, many individuals will not accept any term other than marriage. In any case, the legal recognition of a same sex relationship can offer couples access to equal rights. In fact, couples use domestic partnership agreements as prenuptial agreements, marriage agreements, separation agreements and for estate planning, inclusively. Domestic partnership agreements can be vital to all aspects of a same sex relationship from the beginning up until the end, through death or divorce.
Domestic partnership agreements can be used as prenuptial agreements. Couples can decide, ahead of time, the manner in which assets will be distributed in the event of separation. In addition, couples can use the agreement as a tool to plan for marriage and to decide what they will expect from each other during the relationship. Equally important, couples can use domestic partnerships as a tool for estate planning.
Couples can decide which assets should be left to their partner. Without these agreements, and in the absence of a will, individual property is generally awarded to the closest next of kin. In addition, couples that enter into domestic partnerships, are able to receive other rights associated with marriage. These rights can be vital throughout a relationship.
For instance, domestic partners may be entitled to shared health care and the ability to make health care decisions regarding their partner. Also, couples are able to visit each other in the hospital or in prison.
Domestic partners are generally afforded the same rights as married couples. Same sex couples can enter into legally binding agreements that protect their rights regarding their relationship.
In addition, couples can enjoy the fact that their relationship has been legally recognized by the state in which they reside. In many cases, domestic partnership agreements will be legally recognized in other states that offer them. In fact, there are states that will recognize them, even in the absence of a state law that allows them.