It's no longer unusual for couples to decide to move in with each other and not marry. Some plan to do so at some point, and some have no intention of tying the knot. Regardless of your plans or motivations, you can still take steps to be aware of your legal rights and to protect your finances. Read on to learn more about where the law stands on domestic partnerships.
Legal Recognition in Some Places
The law always seems to lag behind big changes in social mores, but there are several states and cities that give a legal nod to domestic partnerships by providing them with some of the same benefits and privileges that married couples enjoy.
- New Jersey
- Washington D.C.
- New York City
- San Francisco
What Benefits You Can Expect
If you live in one of the above places, here are perks to expect:
1. Just by cohabiting with someone with great health insurance benefits, you can also opt-in to be covered.
2. If you add to your family, the Family and Medical Leave Act has you covered.
3. You will be viewed as a couple when you apply for government aid, such as food stamps and housing assistance.
4. Go ahead and mark that tax return "married filing jointly" and enjoy the tax perks of that status.
5. When the worse happens and one of you is hospitalized, you can gain family member or next of kin status for visitation purposes.
You Get Benefits and You Get Benefits!
Fortunately, some major corporations have zoomed ahead of government entities and awards couples who live together some of the same benefits that legally married couples enjoy. No matter where you live in the U.S., you can get things like coverage for healthcare and more. Normally, you must show some proof that you are not just in a roommate situation, such as proof of joint bank accounts, lease agreements or mortgages, utility bills, etc.
Other Steps to Take
1. Real estate deeds can be changed (referred to as quit claim deeds) to reflect your wishes, without having to address the issue with a will. Just add your partner to the deed.
2. You can protect your parental rights by adopting the child of your partner, as long as the other parent is in agreement. If your relationship should come to an end, you will still have a legal right to custody and visitation.
Speak with a family law attorney like Roderic H. Slayton, PC about what rights and protections you can expect and how to solidify your relations with a domestic partnerships agreement.