How to Create a Domestic Partnership Agreement

By Nichole Hoskins

The number of couples who choose to forego marriage is growing. Whether a couple objects to marriage, or the rules of their state of residence prevent them from marrying legally, a couple may still want to establish themselves in a permanent but unmarried relationship. Before setting up a household together, many cohabiting couples choose to protect themselves and their property by creating a domestic partnership agreement.

The number of couples who choose to forego marriage is growing. Whether a couple objects to marriage, or the rules of their state of residence prevent them from marrying legally, a couple may still want to establish themselves in a permanent but unmarried relationship. Before setting up a household together, many cohabiting couples choose to protect themselves and their property by creating a domestic partnership agreement.

The Domestic Partnership Contract

The domestic partnership agreement is a contract that serves much the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement. The domestic partnership agreement can be used to clarify the financial terms of a relationship, deal with issues of joint property ownership and set the expectations for shared household duties. Because a registered domestic partnership includes many of the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage, it is especially useful for couples looking to establish a permanent partnership and ensure that the couple and not the courts decide how their personal and financial affairs are handled.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Civil Unions and Domestic Partnership Agreements

Several states offer nonmarital designations that offer a variety of rights to unmarried couples that are similar to those enjoyed by married people. In some states, only unmarried same-sex couples can establish a civil union. In other states, any couple can register a domestic partnership. Either way, couples planning to enter into a registered domestic partnership or civil union are wise to to create a domestic partnership agreement before making it official. Having the agreement in place will protect the interests of each party.

What to Include in a Domestic Partnership Agreement

Like prenuptial agreements, domestic partnership agreements are typically used by couples who wish to keep some or all of their financial assets and liabilities separate after the couple merges households. A good agreement is very specific, and it includes everything from checking accounts to real estate to business holdings -- and even personal effects, such as jewelry and furnishings. The agreement can define who is entitled to what property in the event the relationship ends or a partner dies. The agreement is also useful for discussing how household responsibilities like home maintenance and child care should be divided.

Drafting the Domestic Partnership Agreement

Before drafting the agreement, couples typically discuss what terms they want their specific agreement to include. You can use an attorney, or you can choose an online legal services provider to draft a domestic partner agreement without the expense of hiring an attorney, especially if you are both clearly in agreement about what you want the agreement to say.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Cohabitation Laws on Breakups & Assets

References

Related articles

Key Sections of a Partnership Agreement

A general partnership is an agreement between two or more people to go into business together. This type of organization is subject to state law and agreements between the owners of the business. In most situations, the partners can decide how they want to operate the business by drafting a partnership agreement, a set of rules governing business operations. If an agreement does not address a particular issue, the laws of the state where the partnership is headquartered will govern how the business is to act in those circumstances. As a result, a partnership agreement can be quite detailed. However, there are some key sections that can be especially important.

Does Colorado Recognize Common Law Marriages?

Colorado is only one of a handful of states that recognizes common law marriage. However, couples need to do more than simply say they are married if they want the state to recognize the validity of their union. They must act as if they are married, for example, by living together, sharing the same surname and filing joint taxes. Once the state recognizes a couple's common law marriage, the couple can only terminate it by divorce -- just like any other marriage.

Importance of Partnership Agreement

A legal partnership is formed automatically whenever two or more parties -- either individuals or organizations -- agree to do business together and share profits and losses. Partnerships are governed by state law, and these laws vary somewhat from state to state. You don't need to register your partnership with the state government for partnership law to apply.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

New York Domestic Partner Divorce Laws

New York laws are relatively clear about the standards and procedures for marriage and divorce, including issues of ...

DIY Prenup in California

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that outlines the property rights of a couple who intend to marry in the event ...

Equitable Distribution Law for Divorce in Maryland

Sharing property is an important component of many marriages, but when couples divorce, questions often arise as to how ...

Why Is a Prenuptial Agreement a Good Idea?

Prenuptial agreements are often placed in a negative light by the media. However, provided that both parties are ...

Browse by category