Massachusetts Family Law Attorneys

Understanding Domestic Partnership in Massachusetts

Marriage isn’t for everyone. However, some couples find that they don't receive the same benefits that Massachusetts offers to those who are married. This can be frustrating for those who are committed to each other but have no social desire or religious obligation to marry. While it is not the same as marriage, a domestic partnership can be a great legal alternative to couples who live together.

What is Domestic Partnership in MA?

A domestic partnership is very similar to marriage. It can apply to couples who are not married but live together. Domestic partnerships provide some legal benefits that married couples enjoy. In some states, domestic partnership is also known as a civil union.

Domestic partnerships in MA include the following legal benefits:

  • Hospital visitation rights
  • Family healthcare coverage
  • Correctional facility visitation rights
  • Access to a dependent child’s school records
  • The right to remove a child from school for emergencies
  • Bereavement leave
  • Sick leave to care for a partner
  • Shared employment benefits from a partner

Requirements for MA Domestic Partnership

Those who register for domestic partnership must be over the age of 18 and unmarried. To make a domestic partnership official, the relationship must be declared at a courthouse or government office. If a relationship ends, those in a domestic partnership must inform the government.

Other requirements for a domestic partnership in MA include the following:

  • The couple shares living expenses
  • The couple is responsible for the well-being of each other and any dependents
  • Both parties are mentally capable of entering into a contract
  • Both parties do not have a domestic partnership with someone else already

If you are not certain if a domestic partnership is right for you, call an experienced family law attorney from Miller Law Group, P.C. today. We’re ready to help you decide if a domestic partnership will benefit your living situation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Partnership in MA

Does Massachusetts recognize domestic partnerships?

Yes. Massachusetts allows any couple to register for domestic partnership if they meet certain requirements. Requirements for domestic partnership can be viewed in the section above that lists them.

How do I register a domestic partnership in Massachusetts?

If you meet the requirements for a domestic partnership, filing for one is usually a simple process. Essentially, obtaining a domestic partnership requires filling out a form, paying the required fees, and taking your information to a nearby city hall. Fees and requirements vary by city, so be certain to verify your area’s requirements by calling your local city hall.

Is domestic partnership the same as being married?

No. While a domestic partnership provides some of the benefits that married couples enjoy, it is not the same as being married. Marriages are recognized in all states while most domestic partnerships are only recognized in the state that one was obtained. Additionally, domestic partners are not legally considered as family. So, unlike married couples, a person in a domestic partnership will not inherit their partner’s assets in the event of death. Instead, they will have to make sure they have a will that will provide assets to each other if a member of a domestic partnership were to die.

Can you end a domestic partnership in MA?

Yes. A domestic partnership can be terminated in Massachusetts by filling out a domestic partner termination form. If assets and children are part of a domestic partnership, former couples might need the assistance of a family law firm to work through the process.

What is common law marriage in MA?

Common law marriage is a legal term that describes couples who act like a married couple but have not gone through the process of marriage. In many states, couples who live with each other for a certain amount of time qualify for common law marriage. However, Massachusetts does allow couples to use common law marriage unless they’ve obtained it in another state. Find out more about common law marriage in the state by reading our blog about the subject.

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