Not every couple wishes to get married. Some find that domestic partnerships, or civil unions, are a preferable alternative to marriage. A domestic partnership allows you to be legally recognized as such. Partners can commit to living together and supporting each other in a relationship without the legal requirements of marriage. If you are considering a domestic partnership, you first need to understand the rights afforded to marriages and partnerships.
Our experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group, LLC, can help you navigate the legal matters of a domestic partnership. We can provide you with detailed information about the benefits and limitations of choosing a marriage or partnership. We can also help you determine the best option for your relationship. Our years of experience enable us to understand the legal complexities of domestic partnerships when compared to marriages. We can advocate for your best interests as you establish your legal union.
Domestic partnerships affirm you and your partner’s commitment to each other in a caring relationship. Any couple can form a domestic partnership, regardless of gender. Unlike marriages, domestic partnerships do not have legal name changes. They also do not have legal and financial rights such as those over:
A couple must meet certain requirements to form a domestic partnership, which are:
Entering into a domestic partnership allows you to make a public record of your relationship and your commitment to each other.
Domestic partnerships do not provide as many legal protections for partners. For this reason, protections must be found through other legal means, including:
Domestic partnerships do not provide joint property ownership. If you separate, this can make dividing assets more difficult. Separated partners are also not entitled to retirement benefits. Pre-partnership agreements, like prenuptial agreements, allow you and your domestic pattern to determine what will be done with assets, debts, and property if a separation occurs. Otherwise, separation could be complex and expensive. A domestic partnership attorney can help you determine what is necessary for your partnership.
To begin a domestic partnership, you must register with the state of Colorado. This can be done at the city clerk’s office or the country registrar’s office. You can call or email to make an appointment where you and your partner can both appear in person. Some offices have a domestic partnership application to complete and bring with you when you arrive for the appointment. You will also need:
Once these documents are verified and the registration fee is paid, you both sign an affidavit. This gives your domestic partnership legal recognition.
Similarly to a marriage, registered domestic partners can:
There are several rights that marriages enjoy that domestic partnerships do not. These include:
Domestic partnerships do not grant you joint asset ownership. In a marriage, assets, debts, and property are divided equally if a couple separates. Divorced spouses also have access to each other’s retirement benefits, while domestic partners do not unless the other is named a beneficiary. Domestic partnerships must either create a pre-partnership agreement or go through a partition case. A partition case will sell all your joint property and allow you to split the proceeds.
Domestic partnerships are only recognized in some states, and you are not federally recognized as spouses. If you leave this state, you may lose your benefits.
Unlike marriages, a domestic partnership does not consider the couple to be family members. This can cause issues with child custody, work-related health insurance, and inheritance and inheritance taxes.
A domestic partnership does not enable you to file a petition to change your partner’s immigration status.
A: Registered domestic partnerships can file taxes jointly or separately for state taxes, but not federal taxes. Domestic partners are not married under state law and therefore cannot file jointly on federal taxes. You also cannot file a federal tax return as a married couple filing separately. For tax purposes, you are unmarried and should file as such.
A: There is no waiting period for a domestic partnership, so you can get the partnership filed as soon as there is an appointment opening available. The appointment itself will take a day if you have the necessary papers, documents, and filing fee. You must also meet other requirements, including being 18 and living at the same address.
A: Yes, Colorado does recognize domestic partnerships as well as other civil unions like marriages or other significant legal relationships. If a couple has gone through the process of registering as a domestic partnership, they have access to the state tax, insurance, and other benefits of a partnership. Your partnership will also be a matter of public record.
A: To register a domestic partnership in Englewood, CO, you and your partner must share a living space and address and be at least 18 years old. You must both be able to understand and sign a legal contract with full knowledge of its meaning and be legally allowed to marry according to state law. Neither of you can be in another domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage, or be married to each other.
Our expert family law attorneys in Englewood can help you determine what steps you can take to protect, register, and validate your domestic partnership. Contact Johnson Law Group, LLC, today.