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Domestic Partnership

Domestic partnership has a number of advantages in Texas, although for most individuals, the greatest advantage to domestic partnership is the access to the other partner’s benefits. While many consider domestic partnership to be associated with same sex couples, many heterosexual couples also participate in domestic partnerships as a way to protect themselves and their relationship prior to entering a marriage.

Domestic Partnership in Texas

Domestic partnership has long been recognized in other countries as well as other states in the country. The practical reasoning for domestic partnership is to take advantage of certain benefit programs, or to prevent these programs from being taken away from their children. Employers now recognize that many adults in the current generation are waiting for marriage, or may not wish to marry, but still wish to receive the benefits their partner receives.

A domestic partnership agreement outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of two parties (in any gender) in a long-term relationship. Both parties may present this agreement to their employers to allow the partner to take advantage of their employer’s benefit program. However, it is important to conduct research before entering into a domestic partnership since not every employer will accept domestic partnership agreements as a precursor to allowing another party onto the insurance.

Domestic Partnership vs. Marriage

Texas is one state which provides for common law marriage, which can be entered into without the assistance of a court or a county clerk. Both parties simply have to confirm that they live together and hold each other out as being husband or wife in a marriage. However, if you do not want to enter into a full marriage, domestic partnership offers a similar agreement without the strict nuances of marriage. A domestic partnership can be dissolved, whereas you must go through a divorce to dissolve even a common law marriage.

Domestic partnerships do not have the same high tier standard as marriage does, meaning that community property obligations do not extend to domestic partnerships. Therefore, property acquired during a domestic partnership will be subject to the strict community property standards. However, sometimes this further complicates the division of property upon the dissolution of a domestic partnership and therefore an experienced family law attorney should be involved to protect your assets. A domestic partnership agreement can outline the various “separate” and “community” property which is acquired during the partnership, and can operate in the same manner as a prenuptial agreement.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Family Law Attorney

If you have questions concerning a domestic partnership or would like to know the deeper differences between a partnership and marriage, do not hesitate to contact our attorney at the Malley Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling domestic partnership agreements and will be able to assist you in drafting your agreement and exploring the potential avenues you can take to ensure that you receive the benefits you desire out of a partnership. Contact our Houston or Beaumont offices today for your initial free consultation.


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