Cohabiting couples, whether heterosexual or same-sex couples, do not have the benefits that a marriage certificate gives husbands and wives, but many of them experience similar issues of conflict or potential conflict that married couples do. Individuals and couples should realize that is in their own best interest to protect themselves against a possible end to their relationship by preparing and formalizing domestic partner agreements.
Legally speaking, a domestic partnership agreement is somewhat similar to a business contract. On a personal level, the agreement will serve the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement, but it would be enforceable through civil courts rather than family law courts. A domestic partnership agreement may be formalized by a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple whose assets are commingled in any way.
You and your domestic partner may choose to clarify how assets are handled in the event of a break-up through a legally formalized document such issues as the following:
Can child-related agreements be contained within a domestic partnership agreement if you and your cohabiting partner share in the care and nurturing of children? The answer to this question may be determined by a number of variables in your particular circumstance. Talk to an attorney to get a clearer understanding of how children in the household might be impacted if the domestic partnership should dissolve.
In addition to a domestic partnership agreement, you and your partner may wish to name each other in general durable powers of attorney and in health care power of attorney documents for use in the event of a medical emergency. You may wish to name each other as beneficiaries in wills and trusts. Ask one of our lawyers about these and other issues of importance to you.
At Lasiter & Jackson, we are committed to obtaining positive results for each of our clients, and we strive to provide qualified case assessment at a reasonable cost.
Contact our law office in Phoenix to discuss your cohabitation, marriage, divorce or family law issues. We represent clients throughout Pinal and Maricopa County. Obligations of marriage are not the same as agreements spoken or formalized in writing by domestic partners. Consult with a lawyer at our well-established Arizona family law firm for a better understanding of what your existing commitment means in practical terms, with or without a written agreement.