I’d never really given much thought to the idea of a domestic partnership, but Charlotte Cowles makes it sound both practical and sweetly romantic in a recent article for NYMag’s The Cut.
Long-associated with same-sex couples, domestic partnerships actually seem like a pretty convenient arrangement for straight couples who live together but who, for whatever reason, aren’t interested in getting married. A domestic partnership provides legal benefits for long-term couples, while still being, well, relatively easy to get out of if things take a turn for the worse.
Some similarities between a domestic partnership and marriage:
- To get domestically partnered, you have to go down to the County Clerk’s Office and get a certificate.
- The certificate costs $35 (same as a marriage certificate).
- Domestic partners are legally recognized as a couple by the state.
- Domestic partners are eligible to share health insurance.
And some (important) differences:
- Only one partner needs to be present to fill out the paperwork terminating the domestic partnership. ($27 fee.)
- No tax benefits to domestic partners.
- No recognition from states where domestic partnerships are not observed.
- Probably no bachelor/bachelorette showers.
Given the number of couples who move in together (before, or without ever planning to get married), it’s sort of a wonder how infrequently one hears of domestic partnerships, maybe because it has a bit of a reputation of being “Marriage Lite” — an institution which legally ties you to another person with no tax benefits or social benefits. (Which is obviously why the gay rights movement has been so dissatisfied with domestic partnership as a substitute for marriage — it’s not the same thing.) But, as Cowles points out in her article, the benefits which are provided by domestic partnership are gallant, romantic, even.
“For us, domestic partnership has been a milestone, an extra component of mutual dependence.” She writes. ”I was thrilled and proud that I could provide my loved one with healthcare.”
And, really, is there anything more romantic than that?