A domestic partnership is an agreement between two parties in a committed relationship. It is not recognized statewide in Texas, but there are a few selected Texas counties which do recognize domestic partnership agreements. Travis County is one of those counties, as well as most large cities like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
It was widely used prior to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision for LBGTQ partners who were unable to marry same-sex partners. It also is used to obtain health insurance for a domestic partner through the other partner’s employer plan. It does not function as an alternative to marriage. In fact, another use of the domestic partnership is to define the relationship between the partners as unmarried. Sometimes people worry that they will become common law married if they cohabitate with their partner. Although not the only test to prove or disprove a common law marriage, it is an affirmative declaration that there is no intent to marry.
A domestic partnership also allows for joint use of a home, regardless of who owns the home and describes sharing of domestic expenses in whatever contribution plan is agreed upon. The basic form is extremely general but could be modified to include whatever details the couple want to include. Joint purchases of furniture and fixtures could be addressed in case of a future breakup.
In most Texas cities, a domestic partnership should be revoked within 31 days after the breakup of the partners.
It’s important to note that domestic partnerships cannot establish paternity, custody or support issues for minor children.
A Domestic Partnership Agreement is NOT an Alternative to Marriage
The marriage relationship endows certain rights and duties to the spouses. Married persons can receive a spouse’s Social Security, pension, worker’s compensation or disability benefits. They are entitled to invoke spousal privilege to avoid providing damaging testimony about the other spouse. There are, among others, a mutual duty to support the other spouse and a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the other spouse. There are special rights to property and earnings during the marriage that only occur within a marriage. Community property does not arise except in a marriage, so property acquired by one partner during the duration of a domestic partnership is not available to the other partner by right.
Contact Us Today for Reliable Legal Advice
The attorneys here at Vaught Law Firm are ready to assist in the creation or dissolution of a domestic partnership, or to discuss the uses of a domestic partnership in a client’s personal situation.
We help draft domestic partnership agreements for our clients. We also review current agreements to ensure the protection of our clients’ interests before they sign them. We seek not only to guide our clients through the process but also to educate. When you decide to pursue a domestic partnership, we want to make sure you receive the most accurate information and advice.
Is a domestic partnership the right step for you and your partner? Contact Vaught Law Firm and we will make sure to provide you with the best legal advice as we guide you through the process.