While not all couples want to get married, many couples who have been together for years do want to enjoy the legal benefits of a marriage. For these partners, seeking a domestic partnership instead of a marriage may be the best option. Here’s an overview of what you should know about how to form a domestic partnership, as well as what a domestic partnership means in the eyes of the law. To learn more, reach out to the Law Office of Heather M. Ward directly for a consultation. 

What Is a Domestic Partnership?

Also referred to as a civil union, a domestic partnership is for persons in committed relationships who want to receive legal recognition of their relationship. When a couple has a legally recognized domestic partnership, they can receive many of the same benefits of being married, including:

  • Entitlement to sick leave to care for their partner and bereavement leave;
  • The right to seek shared benefits, including healthcare, from an employer; and 
  • The right to see one’s partner in the hospital or in a correctional facility. 

It’s important to note that while some states also recognize domestic partnerships, there are others that do not. 

How to Form a Domestic Partnership in Massachusetts

In order to file for a domestic partnership in Massachusetts, you and your partner must meet certain requirements:

  • You must be living together. 
  • You must share basic living expenses. 
  • Neither of you can be in a marriage or domestic partnership with another party.
  • You both must be mentally capable of entering into a contract. 
  • You must be responsible for each other’s wellbeing and the wellbeing of any dependents. 

Ending a Domestic Partnership

Ending a domestic partnership in Massachusetts is similar to seeking a dissolution of marriage. You’ll need to reach a parenting plan if you have shared children, and also divide property and debts that you share. Because those who are ending a domestic partnership may have to deal with many of the same issues as those who are ending a marriage, it’s important to work with an attorney before your separation is finalized. 

Call the Law Office of Heather M. Ward Today

For those who want to have many of the legal benefits that are bestowed by a marriage without the bells and whistles of saying “I do,” applying for a domestic partnership in Massachusetts may be the best option. If you have questions about how a domestic partnership works, recognition of a domestic partnership in our state or others, or how to dissolve a domestic partnership, our Massachusetts family law attorney at the Law Office of Heather M. Ward can help. To learn more, please call Attorney Heather M. Ward directly at (617) 903-8955 or send our law office a message at your convenience.