Domestic Partnership Law and Legal Definition

Domestic partners are unmarried couples, including homosexuals, living together in long-term relationships, who may be entitled to some of the same benefits as married people, such as employer-provided health coverage. Although not required for married employees, many employers that provide domestic partner benefits require the employee and his or her domestic partner to sign an "affidavit of domestic partnership" to obtain coverage. Companies have discretion to word the affidavit as they choose but many require that domestic partners must be able to demonstrate they:

  • Have lived together for a specified period (generally, at least six months)
  • Are responsible for each other's financial welfare
  • Are not blood relatives
  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Are mentally competent
  • Are life partners and would get legally married should the option become available
  • Are registered as domestic partners if there is a local domestic partner registry
  • Are not legally married to anyone
  • Agree to inform the company in the event that the domestic partnership terminates

In addition to the affidavit, a company may require proof of financial interdependence or common residence.