Domestic partnership is an arrangement wherein two individuals of any gender can live together without officially getting married and still enjoy some of the benefits that are available for married couples.
What You Need to Know About Domestic Partnership
A domestic partnership in Texas offers a number of benefits for unmarried couples who are in a committed relationship and live together. For instance, many employers in Texas provide insurance coverage for their employees and their partners – even if they are not legally married and happen to live under a domestic partnership arrangement.
Similarly, two individuals who are in a domestic partnership can also share the same home, irrespective of who owns it.
In addition to that, a domestic partnership arrangement drafted by an Austin divorce attorney can be used to specify the rights and responsibilities of the partners towards each other in terms of the following issues.
- How their income will be shared between each other – if they both happen to work
- How their household expenses will be shared between each other
- Whether a gift received or property inherited by one partner will become the joint property of both partners or it will be the receiver or inheritor’s sole property
- How properties that are jointly held by the partners during the course of their relationship will be divided in case they decide to separate
- How disputes and disagreements between the partners – over the interpretation and implementation of the domestic partnership agreement as well as other issues – should be resolved
An experienced family law attorney in Texas can draft a formal agreement that clearly specifies all the rights and duties you and your domestic partner have towards each other while making sure that the provisions do not violate or transgress upon each other’s rights and interests in any way.
Difference Between Domestic Partnership and Common Law Marriage
A common law marriage is an arrangement wherein two individuals can live together as husband and wife without having to undergo the official formalities associated with a formal marriage. Couples who live under a common law marriage agreement generally have more rights and are entitled to receive more benefits than couples who live under a domestic partnership arrangement.
Similarly, a domestic partnership arrangement between two individuals can simply be dissolved, whereas, in order to end a common law marriage, you must file for a divorce.
Difference Between Domestic Partnership and Formal Marriage
Being in a domestic partnership is not the same as being married for several reasons. Under Texas law, couples who live under a domestic partnership agreement are not entitled to the following benefits, which are available to married couples.
- The right to receive the benefits offered to the spouse by their employer and by the government – including but not limited to social security benefits, pension, disability benefits, and worker’s compensation.
- The right to invoke spousal privilege in a trial in order to avoid testifying against the spouse
- The right to receive a share of the assets acquired by the spouse in the event of a divorce
Similarly, married couples have fiduciary duties towards each other, whereas couples in a domestic partnership arrangement do not have any such responsibilities.
An experienced Austin divorce lawyer can help you understand the upsides and downsides of being in a domestic partnership agreement so that you are fully aware of what you are getting into and make an informed decision.
Trust Over 35 Years of Experience in Divorce and Family Law – Trust Attorney Eric M. Willie
Working with the right family law firm will enable you to access experience and knowledge that is essential during an Austin divorce.
Eric M. Willie, P.C. is an experienced and dedicated family law attorney that can help couples—regardless of their partnership status—achieve favorable outcomes.