Residents of Texas may benefit from learning more about the fundamental factors that constitute a domestic partnership in the United States. This status is similar to marriage and may apply to unmarried couples who live together. Many same-sex couples choose to register a domestic partnership if their current state prohibits same-sex marriages. Both heterosexual and LGBT couples can register a domestic partnership with the state.
Some states require at least one partner in a heterosexual couple to be at least 62 years old in order to qualify for a domestic partnership registration. The status is a declaration of a serious relationship before a government agency or court, and in some states and municipalities, such as Travis County, it can provide benefits similar to marriage benefits. Some of the benefits provided in a domestic partnership include visitation rights to jails and hospitals, insurance coverage on family policies and rights to family leave when a partner is sick.
People who are interested in registering a domestic partnership with the state are typically required to appear in the applicable government office with the required materials, such as an application and a fee. The other basic requirements for registering a domestic partnership in areas such as Washington, D.C., are that partners share a permanent residence, be 18 years of age or older and be unmarried. Individual states have their own laws outlining the rights and protections guaranteed in a domestic partnership.
Because each case is unique, the aforementioned information should not be considered legal advice, which should be obtained from contacting legal counsel. A lawyer could also assist couples who are interested in terminating a domestic partnership or those who wish to undergo second-parent adoption, which is having a partner who is not a child’s biological parent become a legal parent.
Source: Findlaw, “What is a Domestic Partnership?“, August 14, 2014