What Is a Domestic Partner?

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    Registration

    • Though many couples use the term to describe their social relationship, others have registered their partnership in localities that allow them, such as the city and state of New York.

    Employers

    • According to the Human Rights Campaign, most of the U.S. Fortune 500 corporation recognize a domestic partnership by offering health insurance and other benefits to partners of employees.

    Termination

    • Those who have not registered their domestic partnership can simply end their relationship by saying so. However, those who have legal standing as domestic partners must file a termination notice in the jurisdiction that the partnership was originally registered.

    Limitations

    • Because a domestic partnership is not a marriage, it has no legal status in jurisdictions that do not recognize it, including at the Federal level. Traditional marriage rights such as joint tax filing or government death benefits do not apply.

    International

    • As of January 2010, seven countries including Canada, Sweden and Spain, recognize same-sex marriage. Some states, like Iowa and New Hampshire , also approve such unions.

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