Domestic Partnerships in New York

How Is a Domestic Partnership Defined Under New York Law?

In New York, a domestic partnership is defined as a legal relationship between two people who live with one another and share much of their lives, but are not married or united in a civil union. Under some state laws, including those of California and Nevada, domestic partnerships function in much the same way and legally recognized unions, whereas other states may bestow fewer rights to individuals in domestic partnerships.

How the law views domestic relationships is continually evolving, and depends on the jurisdiction where a couple resides. For example, couples who reside together for a long period of time may be eligible for various legal rights in a domestic partnership, provided it is established in the jurisdiction. Ultimately, registration of a domestic partnership allows for the jurisdiction to formally recognize the relationship.

Protecting Your Rights through a Domestic Partnership

Domestic partners may be entitled to certain rights, including the recognition of contribution one individual makes to the property of the other. Devices like the constructive trust are options which may be used by partners in legal marriages, but may not be available to domestic partners. This has prompted courts to find another way to protect the partner who makes contributions to the other’s property.

Some couples enter into a domestic partnership to agree on issues involving:

Same-Sex Marriage vs. Domestic Partnerships in New York

Although same-sex marriage is now legal in all U.S. states, domestic partnership is still an option. It does, however, come with more limited rights. In New York, lawfully married individuals, including those in same-sex marriages, are entitled to more rights and benefits than those registered as domestic partners. Furthermore, if a couple enters into a same-sex marriage in a state other than New York, they are still entitled to some of the same rights and benefits available to lawfully married couples in the state.

If you have questions about domestic partnerships in New York, please schedule an initial consultation with our divorce attorney, Lois M. Brenner, Esq. Call now: (646) 663-4546.

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