The Importance of a Domestic Partnership Agreement in Same-Sex Relationships
As you may know, the US Supreme Court has extended, in 2015, the right for same-sex couples to marry – under the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
The result was that some states fully allowed same-sex marriage, while others relied on offering legal recognition in the form of domestic partnerships and civil unions for such couples.
Unlike marriage, domestic partnership agreements give limited state rights to couples who live together but don’t want to marry – or their marriage is prohibited by law.
However, domestic partnerships are different from civil unions – the other form of legal recognition.
Let’s take a look at the importance of such an agreement, especially when it comes to same-sex relationships.
Keep in mind that you can be provided with much more information if you consult with a family lawyer for domestic partners in same-sex relationship and ask for their advice if you have any issues.
Domestic Partnership vs. Civil Union
The main difference between civil unions and domestic partnerships is that the latter are not legal in all American states.
You can only be part of a same-sex civil union in New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, and Colorado.
On the other hand, domestic partnerships are offered at a state or city level and may also make couples eligible for domestic partner benefits at certain companies or organizations.
However, not all states have adopted broad types of domestic partnerships.
For example, only Oregon and California have broad domestic partnerships that provide same-sex couples with almost all state-level spousal rights.
Domestic partnership has emerged as a way for same-sex couples to get the same benefits as they would if they were married.
Through the domestic partnership, the couple can remain unmarried.
Meanwhile, a civil union gives the couple legal recognition as they get the same legal rights as a real married couple. But unlike a married couple, a civil union doesn’t give them federal benefits. Still, a civil union will give couples the peace of mind that their relationship is legally recognized.
Why do same-sex couples get into domestic partnership agreements?
Some couples would rather want to get into a domestic partnership agreement, even if their state legalized same-sex marriage. Now, why could that be? Here are the main reasons for it:
1. To set property rights
One of the main reasons why same-sex couples get into domestic partnership agreements is to decide what will happen in case the couple get separated.
Simply put, it will work as a decision of what will each party acquire in the event a separation occurs. It also sets who owns what.
Therefore, in a way, it is pretty similar to a prenuptial agreement – that’s why so many couples seek it.
2. To avoid marriage tax penalty
Probably one of the most annoying things when it comes to being married is the tax penalty.
This penalty pretty much affects married couples who earn similar amounts of cash during tax time. Tax penalty can easily ruin the happiness you’ve felt on your wedding day – so, getting into a domestic partnership is a better alternative, even if your state allows same-sex marriages.
3. They don’t want to marry
In some cases, personal matters may come between you and the one you love.
It could either be a religious matter, which doesn’t allow you to marry someone of the same sex, or it could be a family matter.
Some families simply don’t like the idea of such a marriage, as they had their own expectations for their child and don’t allow anything else.
Concurrently, some older same-sex couples may just not want to get married since it’s such a time-consuming and stressful process.
Having said that, a domestic partnership is a good alternative to that. It’s not difficult to get, and you’ll pretty much get the same benefits as you would with marriage without going through such a big event.
The importance of a domestic partnership agreement
A domestic partnership agreement comes with both advantages and disadvantages that have to be carefully taken into account before being signed.
Most couples won’t think twice when it comes to making such an agreement, which is why they’ll later have difficulties in terms of managing finances or property.
Basically, a Domestic Partnership Agreement will help a couple have the same advantages as married couples do. It is one of the main reasons why this agreement is seen in such a positive light, and why so many same-sex couples consider it.
Here is why a domestic partnership agreement is important:
- Domestic partners who are registered are allowed to purchase and own community property. In case of separation, this property will be equally split between the two.
- However, a domestic partnership agreement will also make sure that the couple’s finances are separate.
- It will also protect the partners from the other party’s debts.
- It may also support the estate plan of one of the partners via the waiving of legal claims to property that is intended for other family members or children.
- This agreement will also determine and define who gets what in case of dissolution.
- Moreover, it will clarify the responsibilities of each party during the partnership.
- Couples in a domestic partnership can also avoid marriage tax penalty.
- Lastly, a domestic partnership agreement will protect dependents – for example, children.
As you can see, a domestic partnership is one thing, while a domestic partnership agreement is a completely different thing.
While the first one makes sure that same-sex couples are treated like married couples (with more or less state-level rights), the latter ensures that the two are not taking any risks by registering as domestic partners.
Both of them have their own benefits, and depending on which state you’re coming from, one or both of these forms of partnerships may be legal.
ou just need to check the laws of your state and see what your benefits are. Afterward, you and your partner can jump into this beautiful story.
In short, such an agreement is in place to make a domestic partnership much safer, for both parties of the agreement, while also retaining their spousal rights.
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