Domestic partnership FAQ

Domestic partnerships did not become a thing of the past when same sex marriage became legal. Find out more about this legal relationship status.

Domestic partnerships used to be a common way for same sex couples to gain legal status as a couple and get the accompanying legal rights. However, with the legalization of same sex marriage throughout the country, these couples no longer have a need for a domestic partnership. In New Jersey, though, this status is still available to a specific group of people to offer them rights without requiring a marriage.

Who can enter into a domestic partnership?

The New Jersey Department of Health explains domestic partnerships are designed for couples over the age of 62. In addition, those wishing to form this type of legal relationship must meet some further requirements. These include:

· Must agree to mutual responsibility for basic living expenses and general welfare

· Not already be married or in a civil union or have terminated a domestic partnership within the previous 180 days (unless due to death of partner)

· Live in the same residence within the state

· Not be related by blood

Both people must sign an affidavit that is notarized and filed with a local registrar of vital statistics. Proper ID must be presented to get the affidavit filed and fees are charged.

How is this type of relationship ended?

Because a domestic partnership is a legal relationship, it requires a legal ending. A couple is legally bound until the relationship is terminated by the court. To terminate a relationship, the couple must file a request with the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey.

How is a domestic partnership different from marriage?

According to Bumble, there are many differences, but also some similarities. Both types of relationships are legally binding. They also both offer certain rights, such as the right to be informed and get information in a health situation.

Marriage rights are fairly consistent throughout the country whereas domestic partnership rights vary a lot. They can differ from state to state and even within states from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This can make it confusing to understand the legal rights of partners.

Also, federal tax rules are different for married couples than partners. Partners may also not be eligible for their partner's benefits from an employer like a husband or wife would.

What are the estate rules for a domestic partnership?

In New Jersey, when it comes to estate taxes, domestic partners do not enjoy the same benefits as married couples. According to Forbes, a court ruling in 2016 determined that while some tax benefits are awarded to domestic partners, estate tax breaks are not.

For older couples who do not want to get married, a domestic partnership can offer the legal protection and benefits they desire. If you are considering a domestic partnership, you may want to think about talking with an attorney to get more information on your legal rights.