Domestic partnerships are an ideal situation for those who want to enjoy some of the legal benefits of marriage without actually getting married. Like any other kind of relationship, however, domestic partnerships can end. Here’s everything you need to know about ending a domestic partnership in Massachusetts.
Want to learn more? Read our blog: Understanding Domestic Partnership in Massachusetts.
How Do You End a Domestic Partnership?
On paper, ending a domestic partnership is a fairly simple process. The termination will be handled through the office of the City Clerk wherever the partnership was registered. Most cities have a termination form available, but you may also be able to draft your own statement declaring that the domestic partnership has ended. There is usually a fee, and you may have to send a certified copy of the termination form to your former partner or have it notarized. Requirements and fees may vary from city to city, so you will want to check with your local City Clerk’s Office.
How Long Before It Becomes Official?
Domestic partnerships can be ended in two ways: the death of a partner or by filing a termination form. In the event that your domestic partner has died, the partnership will be considered legally ended on the date of death. You will have to notify the City Clerk’s office of the death. When you end a domestic partnership by filing a termination form, it becomes official as soon as the City Clerk receives the form. If you wish to enter into another domestic partnership, you must wait 90 days.
How Is Ending a Domestic Partnership Different from Divorce?
In most cases, ending a domestic partnership is much more straightforward than getting a divorce. It could be as simple as filing the paperwork. The process becomes a little more complicated when assets or children are involved. Like married couples, domestic partners build a life together. When their relationship ends, they have to work through many of the same issues.
Here are some things to consider when ending a domestic partnership:
- Child Custody—If you and former your partner have children, you will need to come up with a custody and visitation arrangement.
- Support—Partner support and/or child support may be ordered.
- Assets—Any significant assets, such as property, that you shared will need to be divided.
- Debts—When a couple has accrued significant shared debts, there will also need to be a plan in place for how they will be divided.
The biggest difference between divorce and ending a domestic partnership is what the tax consequences are. Because domestic partnerships are only recognized in the state where one was obtained, support payments will not be factored into federal tax returns.
Questions? Contact Miller Law Group, P.C. for Your Free Consultation
If you are ready to end your domestic partnership, you should speak with a Massachusetts family law attorney. Miller Law Group, P.C. has handled thousands of cases, and we can give you an honest assessment of what this process will look like for you. We will take the time to understand your situation and point out potential sources of contention. If you choose to move forward with terminating your domestic partnership, we can help you handle child custody, child support, and property division in a way that protects your interests. Call (508) 502-7002 for your free consultation.