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Understanding domestic partnerships

Domestic partnerships are a form of legal agreement that can help you protect yourself, your assets and any minor children should a long-term relationship end, but they are not the same thing as a civil union or marriage. While many people see domestic partnerships as a way for same-sex partners to protect themselves in lieu of a civil union, these agreements can also be a good idea for any couple who wants to live together long-term without getting married.

There are any number of reasons you might choose to enter a domestic partnership without getting married. You might have a history with a previous marriage that leaves you very wary to enter such a union or you might be unable to enter into a traditional marriage. You might simply not agree with the idea of traditional marriage, but that doesn't mean you want to give up your rights or legal protection.

Our firm works with couples who want to seek other types of options. We can help you draft a domestic partner contract that is like a prenuptial agreement. It helps protect you both during and, potentially, after a relationship. Things that can be included in such agreements include division of property and debts should the relationship end, support agreements and child custody agreements. You might also want to protect your business branding or assets with such an agreement.

Because domestic partnerships aren't seen as traditional marriages, you might want to consider other legal forms, such as health care directives. These can provide your partner with the ability to talk to health care providers and make decisions on your behalf as needed.

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