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Caroline Olson, P.A. Results Driven Legal Representation
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Jupiter Domestic Partnership Lawyer

Domestic partnerships are long-term, exclusive, and committed relationships, where two partners depend on each other financially. Many domestic partnerships were formed in the years prior to 2015, when same-sex marriage was still unlawful in many states. Since that time, same-sex marriage has been legalized in the U.S., but the state of Florida still doesn’t grant those who are involved in domestic partnerships, the same status or rights of legally married couples. There are, however, a few counties and cities in the state that do recognize domestic partnerships as a legal relationship. To learn more about the ins and outs of entering into or ending a domestic partnership in Florida, contact a Jupiter domestic partnership lawyer today.

What are Domestic Partnerships?

Domestic partnerships and civil unions are alternative forms of legal recognition that a couple is involved in a relationship. They are often compared to marriage because in some states, they come with certain legal benefits. For many years, civil unions and domestic partnerships were the only legal ways that some couples, namely same-sex partners, could receive the legal benefits of marriage. In recent years, however, Florida has officially legalized same-sex marriage, making domestic partnerships a lot less common than they used to be.

Florida doesn’t have any statewide laws governing domestic partnerships in the state, leaving the decision up to individual counties or cities. Although most don’t recognize domestic partnerships, some counties do grant rights to those in these kinds of relationships, including:

  • Palm Beach County;
  • Monroe County;
  • Broward County;
  • Miami-Dade County;
  • Hillsborough County;
  • Pinellas County;
  • Orange County;
  • Leon County;
  • Sarasota County; and
  • Daytona Beach.

In these counties, it may be possible to establish a legal domestic partnership and to obtain the legal privileges that go along with it, which includes receiving access to healthcare information, being authorized to make decisions on their partner’s behalf, gaining the right to be listed as next of kin for emergency purposes, and the right to be named as an heir in the event of a partner’s death.

The Rights of Marriage and Domestic Partnerships are Different

In Florida, couples who live together, but who don’t have a marriage license don’t automatically have rights to inheritance or survivor benefits if their partner passes away. Instead, in these cases, the parties must have a valid will designating their partner as their heir. Similarly, both partners will need to obtain legal and medical powers of attorney in the event that one becomes physically or mentally incapacitated, as these rights are also not automatic for those involved in a domestic partnership. Ending a domestic partnership can also raise complications, as unlike divorce, it doesn’t require couples to come up with alimony or child custody agreements.

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Domestic partnerships are not as legally airtight as marriages and don’t grant as many privileges as these kinds of unions. This means that many couples who end up leaving these relationships find themselves facing an uphill battle when it comes to obtaining alimony or child custody. If you live in one of the counties in which these partnerships are permitted and want to learn more about the ins and outs of either entering into, or getting out of a domestic partnership, reach out to experienced and compassionate Jupiter domestic partnership lawyer Caroline Olson, P.A. for help.

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