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A few states do recognize same sex marriages, but the federal government and many other states don’t recognize these unions.

What Is a Domestic Partnership?

A domestic partnership is, essentially, an alternative to marriage for same sex couples. It allows you to define your relationship status. A domestic partnership will entitle you and your partner to many of the same benefits that a married couple enjoys.

Domestic partnerships may allow you to add your partner to your health insurance plan, but you’ll likely need to provide proof of commitment, such as a shared bank account. This is something that’s unique to a domestic partnership vs. marriage which does not require you to show any proof of commitment aside from a marriage certificate.

In many states, domestic partners can adopt their child’s partner through Second Parent Adoption. However, the biological parent of the child must relinquish their parental rights in order to do this.

To make your domestic partnership official, you can use our Domestic Partnership Agreement. Our agreement can help you outline the financial and legal details of your relationship.

Domestic Partnership vs. Marriage

Domestic partnerships may provide you with some of the benefits that married couples receive, but there are still many differences between this partnership and a marriage. Marriages generally come with more benefits and protections than a domestic partnership does.

  • Marriages are recognized in all states (and in most other countries), but domestic partnerships won’t be recognized in most states in the U.S.
  • Domestic partners are not considered “family” by law, although there are some workplaces and companies that will qualify domestic partners for these same rights. Even if a domestic partnership isn’t recognized in your state, your employer may allow your partner to receive employer benefits.
  • Because domestic partnerships aren’t recognized on the federal level, you can’t petition for a non-citizen partner like a married couple can.
  • Married couples automatically inherit each other’s assets upon death, and these assets are inherited without any taxes incurred. However, this is not the case for domestic partners. You can inherit your partner’s assets through a will, but you’ll be subject to taxes.

It’s important to remember that every state has its own right to define marriage, and some states have banned same sex marriage. If you enter into a domestic partnership, your partnership may not be recognized when crossing state borders or traveling in another country.

That being said, a domestic partnership would provide you and your partner with many benefits and protections that would be guaranteed in the city or state you’re registered in.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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