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OTHER NAMES Domestic Partnership Agreement Form Living Together Contracts

What is a Domestic Partnership Agreement?

Domestic Partnership Agreements provide protection for couples who are not legally married or part of a Civil Union. This agreement is suitable for all types of "Living Together" couples who are in a committed relationship. 
 
Since the federal legalization of same-sex marriage, Domestic Partnerships have declined in popularity, but benefits still exist for this type of agreement. For example, if your partner (same sex or not) is in a serious accident and the hospital is limiting visitation to "kin" or family only, you could be barred from visiting. A Domestic Partnership Agreement can provide legal visitation rights.

When to use a Domestic Partnership Agreement:

  • You want to formalize financial agreements between you and your partner.
  • You want rights to visit each other in hospitals or jail.
  • You want to give each other access to medical information and the right to consent for treatment.
  • You want to be able to provide legal rights to manage funeral and burial services.
  • You want to be able to provide medical benefits to your partner.

Sample Domestic Partnership Agreement

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Domestic Partnership Agreement

 

 

 

We, and , make the following agreement, in consideration of the mutual promises and agreements herein contained, the parties hereto agree as follows:

 

1. We enter into this contract to set forth our rights and responsibilities to each other.

 

2. We intend to abide by the provisions of this agreement in the spirit of love, joy, cooperation, and good faith.

 

3. We agree that all property owned by either of us, as of the date of this agreement, shall be considered to be and shall remain the separate property of each. Neither of us will have any claim to the separate property of the other absent a written agreement transferring ownership. Lists of our major items of separate property are attached and incorporated into this agreement.

 

4. Our individual income and any property accumulated from that income, including rents and profits, shall remain the separate property of the person earning the income. Neither of us shall have any claim to this separate property.

 

5. Each of us shall maintain separate bank accounts. This includes checking, savings, and credit card accounts.  We agree that there may be a need to maintain a joint bank account (checking or savings) for a specific purpose. In that event, we agree to contribute an equal amount to the bank account. Neither party will have the right to withdraw funds from that account without the permission and consent of the other.

 

6. Neither of us shall be liable or responsible for the individual debts incurred by the other in her/his own name.

 

7. We agree to be jointly responsible for all debts we enter into together.

 

8. We agree to equally divide all household and living expenses. This includes, but is not limited to, groceries, utilities, rent, and daily household expenses.

 

9. We agree that we may, at some time, agree to own property jointly. Any jointly held property ownership shall be reflected either in writing or on the title to said property. Neither party shall sell, transfer, or encumber any jointly held property without the written consent of the other. In the event we dissolve our domestic partnership, we provide that any jointly held property will be divided into equal shares, unless we provide otherwise in a written document.

 

10. Any property received by one of us through gift or inheritance remains the separate property of the recipient. The other party has no claim on that separate property unless provided for in a written instrument.

 

11. Neither of us has any rights to, nor any financial interest in, any real or personal property owned entirely or partially by the other person. This includes any real or personal property accumulated before or during our relationship.

 

12. We agree that either party can terminate this contract by giving the other party a one-week written notice of that intent. If either of us seriously considers leaving the relationship we both agree to at least three counseling sessions with a professional counselor or therapist.

 

13. In the event that this relationship is terminated we agree to divide all jointly held property equally. Neither of us shall have any claim against the other for support, property, or financial assistance.

 

14. We agree to resolve any dispute arising from this agreement through mediation. The mediator shall be an objective third party who is mutually agreed upon. The mediators role shall be to help us dissolve our relationship and resolve any differences concerning a division of jointly held property or other issues in a mature and unemotional manner. We agree to enter into mediation in good faith.

 

15. In the event that our attempt at good-faith mediation is unsuccessful to resolve all issues in dispute, either party may seek to resolve the issues through arbitration through the use of the following protocol:

 

  a. Deliver a written demand for arbitration to the other person and name one arbitrator;

 

  b. The other party shall respond with the name of a second arbitrator within five days from receipt of the notice;

 

  c. The two named arbitrators shall select and name a third arbitrator;

 

  d. The arbitration meeting will take place within seven days following the selection of the third arbitrator;

 

  e. Each party is entitled to retain legal counsel at his/her own expense;

 

  f. Each party may present witnesses and evidence at the arbitration hearing;

 

  g. The arbitrators shall issue their decision within five days after the hearing. Their decision shall set forth their findings and conclusion and shall be in writing. The decision shall be binding upon each of us. We agree that neither party shall seek relief from the arbitration decision in court.

 

  h. If the person to whom an arbitration demand is made fails to respond within five days, the other party may give an additional five days written notice of his/her intent to proceed. If there is still no response, the person initiating the arbitration may proceed with the arbitration before an arbitrator he/she has designated. Any award shall have the same force and effect as if all three arbitrators had settled it.

 

16. This agreement represents our complete understanding concerning our domestic partnership. It replaces any and all prior agreements, written or oral. We agree that this document can be amended in only writing and must be signed by both of us.

 

17. We agree that in the event a court finds any portion of this contract to be illegal or otherwise unenforceable, the remainder of the contract shall remain in full force and effect.

 

Signed this _____ day of ______________, 20__.

 

 

By: Date:

 

 

By: Date:

 

STATE OF , , ss:COUNTY OF , ss:PARISH OF , ss:

On this _____ day of ____________________, _____, before me, ______________________________, the undersigned officer, personally appeared and , known to me (or proved to me on the oath of ______________________________) to be the persons who are described in and who executed the within and foregoing instrument, and acknowledged to me that they executed the same.

Before me, a Notary Public (or justice of the peace) in and for said county, personally appeared the above named and , who acknowledged that they did sign the foregoing instrument, and that the same is their free act and deed. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name at ________________________________, this _____ day of ____________________, _____.

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this _____ day of ____________________, _____, by and .

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me, by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this _____ day of ____________________, ______ by and , who is personally known to me or who has produced ________________________________ as identification.

This instrument was acknowledged before me on this _____ day of ____________________, _____ by and .

On this _____ day of ____________________, _____, before me personally appeared and , to me known to be the persons described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and acknowledged that they executed same as their free act and deed.

On this _____ day of ____________________, _____, before me, ________________________________, personally appeared and , known to me (or satisfactorily proven) to be the persons whose names are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged that they executed the same as for the purposes therein contained.

On this _____ day of ____________________, _____, before me, the undersigned, Notary Public for the State of Vermont, personally appeared and , to me known (or to me proved) to be the identical persons named in and who executed the above Premarital Agreement, and acknowledged that such persons executed it as such persons' voluntary act and deed.

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this _____ day of ____________________, _____, by and .

 

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and official seal.

Notary Public

Signature of person taking acknowledgment

 

_________________________________

Name typed, printed, or stamped

Title (and Rank)

 

_________________________________

Title or rank

 

My commission expires _____________

 

_________________________________

Serial number (if applicable)

Serial number, if any

 

Notary Address:

_________________________________

_________________________________

_________________________________

_________________________________

House

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Checking Accounts

Savings Accounts

Certificates of Deposit

IRAs

Retirement Plans (Keogh, 401k, etc.)

Life Insurance (cash value)

Household Goods

Notes

Accounts Receivable

Business Property

Real Estate Mortgage

Home Equity Loans

Other Mortgages

Credit Card Debt

Vehicle Loans

House

Other Real Estate

Vehicles

Stocks

Bonds

Checking Accounts

Savings Accounts

Certificates of Deposit

IRAs

Retirement Plans (Keogh, 401k, etc.)

Life Insurance (cash value)

Household Goods

Notes

Accounts Receivable

Business Property

Real Estate Mortgage

Home Equity Loans

Other Mortgages

Credit Card Debt

Vehicle Loans

In New York, you and your partner can submit a Domestic Partnership application to the Office of the City Clerk online. To complete your application, you must both appear together at the Office of the City Clerk with payment and identification, as well as any additional required documentation.In California, two people meeting the criteria specified by the California Family Code can file either a Declaration of Domestic Partnership or a Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. While some counties in Texas accept the filing of Domestic Partnership Agreements and maintain a registry of domestic partnerships, the state of Texas does not recognize marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships between individuals of the same gender. While some counties in Illinois maintain the domestic partnership registry and will keep an official record of your domestic partnership and any affidavits that you file, a domestic partnership certificate does not automatically qualify you or your partner for employer-sponsored benefits, nor does it confer survivorship or ownership rights. Certain counties in Florida will allow couples to file a declaration of domestic partnership and register with the county, after which the county will issue a certificate reflecting the registration of the domestic partnership relationship. The county may recognize the relationship as conferring visitation rights, correctional and juvenile facilities and certain medical and leave benefits for employees.

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Domestic Partnership Agreement FAQs

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  • What is typically included in a Domestic Partnership?

    The largest portion of most agreements are often financial. Like a Prenuptial Agreement they typically include details about whose property is whose, how to handle mutually owned property and debt responsibilities. Basically, it outlines ongoing financial obligations and what happens if the partnership dissolves or a partner dies.

    Mutual expenses - This could include who is responsible for what and what portion they are responsible for, such as mortgage, utilities, insurance, food and savings plans. You may include life insurance information such as the amount required and beneficiaries.

    Debt - Like marriage most agree to be responsible for the debt they had before the agreement and anything in their own name after. Mutual debt is often split 50/50, but a different proportion can be agreed upon.

    Property - You can define who gets property if the agreement dissolves or a partner dies. If you have pets, you can include information about pet ownership or visitation rights. You can also direct how gifted or inherited properties will be divided. You'll also want to have an updated Living Will in place and a Power of Attorney .

    Domestic duties - Some even choose to include domestic responsibilities. For example, it may be decided that the person with the most earning power works while the other takes care of the home and children. You could also include basic chores and whether one person or both will pay for domestic help.

    Health and medical - In many areas, domestic partners are defined as family or kin and will be allowed to visit the other in the hospital. If you want your partner to also have the right to your medical information and the option of medical consent, you can include some terms in your agreement. But you may also need additional documents such as an Advance Healthcare Directive and Medical ReleaseForms.

    Funeral and burial services - This gives the partner rights, rather than defaulting to the family, to carry out funeral and burial or cremation plans. Of course, it helps if you and your partner define the plans in advance and provide each other access to the funds to pay for the services. Many also include the right to be buried together.

    As with any important personal legal document like a will or prenup, you benefit from having your final document reviewed by a lawyer before you sign.

  • Who can enter a Domestic Partnership?

    While local laws vary, usually there are few common requirements such as:

    • Age. Most often the people will need to be over 18. Some states even have requirements for senior ages.
    • Commitment. Partners must live together and be in a committed relationship. How long the couple has been together also matters, usually it must be longer than six months or a year.
    • Not in another agreement. People cannot be in another agreement (or marriage) and sometimes there may be a wait period required before when one arrangement dissolves and the next agreement can begin.
    • Proof of commitment. Some states may require that you show information that displays your commitment such as lease agreements, mutual bills or state IDs listing the same address.
  • How do you file a Domestic Partnership?

    It varies by area, but in many cases, you'll need to file with a state or city agency. Some have this type of agreement defined more like a business or corporate agreement and you'll apply with the department that manages business agreements. Other cities will require you to apply with the country clerk or recorder. You may also have to apply to be included in a Domestic Partners Registry for state wide recognition. Some government agencies even provide a certificate and or laminated card as proof. Since laws vary greatly, you benefit from asking a lawyer about your state's requirements.

  • Are Domestic Partnership Agreements recognized by the federal government?

    No. Domestic Partnerships are supported by local and state governments, but not federally recognized. In terms of filing federal taxes, partners cannot claim head of household with a partner as a dependent and they cannot file as married filing jointly or married filing separately. Another complication of tax filing is determining what is considered "community funds" and who paid for what to determine who can claim credits or deductions.

  • Are agreements supported by other states?

    Not always. Some states extend recognition to agreements registered in other states. But other states, especially those without current domestic partnership laws, may not. If you move to another state, you may need to create another agreement. If you are traveling, it is a good idea to keep quick access to documents such as medical release documents.

  • Can I add a domestic partner to my health insurance plan?

    Maybe. And keep in mind that insurance companies change their policies frequently so what may be true today, might not be the case in six months. There might be specific rules for covering children of partners as well. The trend seems to be that less insurance companies are offering partner coverage since marriage rights were extended to all couples in 2015.

  • Domestic Partnerships vs. Legal Marriage

    Some may be wondering why some choose a domestic partnership rather than just getting married. Some want to define the terms of their relationship rather than defaulting to how government entities define marriage. Using a Domestic Agreement, you and your partner can control how the government enforces the definition of your relationship rather than the other way around. While many are now choosing to get married, some would rather define their own unique agreement and limit government control.

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