Florida Family Law Attorneys Helping Couples with Domestic Partnerships
A relationship agreement – often referred to as a domestic partnership agreement – is a legal document signed by same-sex and heterosexual couples. The relationship agreement creates a sound basis for the relationship and offers each partner security regarding finances, property, healthcare, and so forth. These agreements are by no means a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, unwed couples or domestic partners in the state of Florida should never use a do-it-yourself form. Instead, it is best to consult a family law attorney to ensure your agreement complies with the statute, but also offers you the best protection possible.
When Should an Unmarried Couple Use a Relationship Agreement?
Domestic Partnership Agreements are not required for all unwed couples or living arrangements. Instead, they are ideal when:
- A couple has formed a long-term, committed relationship and wishes to solidify without marriage.
- A couple seeks out the legal security they need to protect their interests in the event the relationship ends.
- The couple wants a document summarizing what happens to assets and income if a split occurs in the future.
- The couple wants to reduce conflict regarding financial matters and assets.
These written agreements ensure that you and your partner have the same fundamental rights as married couples, but without the official marriage certificate. Domestic arrangements apply to healthcare and emotional security in Florida. The statutes consider a domestic partner-guardian designation, and a domestic partner can make decisions on another partner’s behalf in the event of incapacitation.
Florida law does allow a registered domestic partner to participate in the education of minor children registered to the partnership. For a domestic partnership in Florida, both of you must be 18 years or older, share a residence, not be related, and be unmarried.
An Ideal Substitute when Marriage is Impossible or Unwanted
Couples from all backgrounds see marriage differently. You and your partner may not want an official marriage, but with a domestic partnership, you have the same benefits of married couples. However, there are differences between a formal marriage and partnership, including:
- Domestic partnerships are only recognized in your state – not in another.
- You cannot file a joint tax return because federal law does not recognize domestic partnerships.
- You cannot receive your partner’s Social Security spousal benefits.
Marriage also allows your partner to inherit your estate and unlock other advantages, such as your pension. However, when marriage is not something you want or is not available to you, the domestic partnership agreement and registration offers you more protections than going without it.
Speak with a Family Law Attorney Regarding Your Contract
Beller & Bustamante, P.L. can help you draft your domestic partner agreement. We recommend drafting these agreements if you and your partner share a large asset, such as a home. We have helped countless Florida residents create and establish such contracts to plan for unexpected events.
To explore your options with a relationship contract or for assistance with a domestic partnership, contact our offices to schedule a consultation at 904-288-4414 or request more information about domestic partnerships online.