If you are interested in exploring the option of establishing a domestic partnership with a loved one, an attorney at Orner  Law, LLC can talk to you about your legal rights and your options in this regard.  Our firm is committed to helping all types of couples with these arrangements, whether gay, lesbian, heterosexual, or transgender. Although Florida law currently does not recognize gay and lesbian couples’ rights to a domestic partnership registered as a legally recognized family, a South Florida domestic partnership lawyer at our firm can still assist you in drafting an agreement that will apply to all important issues you feel should be addressed in the event of a terminated relationship or the death of you or your partner.

Any couple, married or not, often faces the same issues that married couples face. They may wish to have children, may purchase property together, or may have joint bank accounts. Some employers have decided to offer health insurance and other employee benefits to domestic partners on the same terms as they do to married couples. Domestic partnerships are recognized by local laws in some Florida counties and municipalities, but the benefits are only valid within that jurisdiction.

However, whereas each of the members of a couple in a legally recognized marriage has certain rights afforded by law (including those that apply when their relationship is ending), there are no statewide laws in the state of Florida that provide rights or benefits similar to those of married couples for two people living in a domestic partnership. For this reason, it can be very helpful to have a legal agreement worked out regarding custody, the division of assets, and any other pertinent matters that may otherwise lead to a dispute or difficulty in the future.

WHAT IS A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT?

A domestic partnership agreement is similar to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, in that it describes particular actions that will be taken in the event of a separation.  The specific rights and obligations of both parties may be listed in the agreement, as well as instructions regarding child custody, property division, and similar issues.  When these are handled in a legal manner, it can take away much of the confusion or discord that may otherwise occur should the relationship ever come to an end.

Here are some examples of issues that can be addressed in a domestic partnership agreement:

  • A list of significant jointly held real and personal property, such as a home, automobiles or bank accounts. Unless it is otherwise clear (for example, if both partners are listed on the property deed and the mortgage loan) Indicate how each was paid for (for example, a major appliance purchased with a joint credit card account).
  • Disposition of real estate if the couple breaks up.
  • A requirement that each partner make full disclosure of assets and liabilities to each other.
  • Provisions concerning child support and visitation. Because the court must always make any decision impacting a child based on that child’s best interests, the domestic partners’ agreements may or may not be enforced. However, it can be helpful to get a common understanding when the relationship is first established. n, a
  • A post-breakup support provision. This is especially important when couples have unequal incomes, or when one partner is giving up a career to take care of the children or the partners’ home.
  • A provision requiring the partners to resolve any differences in the event of a breakup through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution process.

With offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, Orner Law, LLC serves clients throughout South Florida.

Contact a South Florida domestic partnership attorney at our firm today if you would like to learn more about establishing a domestic partnership agreement that protects your interests and future.