Whether you’re in a relationship or not, you’ve probably heard of domestic partnerships – the most popular kind of domestic partnership being same-sex marriage. What are these partnerships and what are their benefits? This article will discuss just that!
1) Financial Planning
A lot of people may think domestic partners only have financial implications when it comes to filing taxes, but being in an exclusive relationship that is recognized by state and federal law gives you more legal protection.
For example, even if you sign over power of attorney to your partner, a court could nullify that agreement in certain situations. If you’re worried about how a domestic partnership will affect your finances, consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer.
2) Family Planning
Most domestic partnerships give you and your partner more control over your reproductive rights. In most states, married couples have no say in what their partners do with their eggs, sperm, or embryos; if one parent wants to keep certain cells from being used to conceive a child, he or she must get a court order.
If you’re in a domestic partnership, however, you can typically choose to use whatever reproductive material is available for procreation.
3) Health Insurance
Married couples and domestic partners can often qualify for significant discounts on individual health insurance policies. If you’re in a domestic partnership, your partner’s employer may offer an employee benefit that covers spouses and children at no extra cost.
Check with your company’s HR department to see if they have such an option available.
4) Legal Assistance
Not only does legal protection give you peace of mind, but it also protects your domestic partner financially. Most heterosexual couples rely on community property laws when they divorce; in California, for example, community property is divided 50/50 upon separation.
In contrast, common law marriage states divide assets based on ownership—not marriage—meaning that unmarried partners must go to court to determine who gets what if their relationship ends.
5) Living Arrangements
One great benefit to domestic partnerships is that they allow you to live with your partner, no matter where either of you lives.
For example, you can move away from home and live with your significant other and if he or she has children from a previous relationship, you are able to help raise them as well.
6) Comparing Your Relationship To Others
In light of recent political events, you may be looking at your own relationship and wondering if it’s healthy. If so, we have some good news: research has shown that domestic partnerships tend to be happier than traditional relationships. Here are 10 unexpected ways they improve well-being
7) Safety Net in the Event of Unemployment
When one partner is unemployed, he or she can rely on income from their domestic partner. This alleviates pressure to find another job quickly in order to make ends meet, which takes the pressure off and gives you time to look for jobs that are better suited to your skillset. Being prepared for unemployment will help you weather those tough months more easily.
8) Taxes – Income and Property Taxes
If you’re one-half of a domestic partnership, your income may be taxed differently than if you were single. Married couples have an option to file taxes jointly, meaning they can pool their incomes together and slash their tax bill in comparison to what they would have owed as individuals. A domestic partnership is not marriage, but it does offer similar benefits.
9) Tax Advantages
Although you are not married, you can still save money by filing jointly. You and your partner would file taxes using either single or head-of-household status. By claiming yourself as single or head of household, you can raise your standard deduction and take an exemption for yourself, which lowers your taxable income.
You can also lower your taxable income by taking various other deductions that married couples aren’t able to take if they file separately.
10) Other Non-Financial Benefits
A domestic partnership or civil union can be valuable in many ways outside just financial benefits. Oftentimes, couples in these unions wish to share property, health care, and other legal rights, even if they are not officially married. If you’re currently unmarried, it’s important to find out what your rights will be if you were ever to become seriously ill or pass away.