THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A DOMESTIC PARTNER CONTRACT
A Domestic Partner Contract is rarely used, and perhaps unenforceable, for legally married couples. There are so many laws that touch the responsibilities of one spouse to another that virtually all aspects of a legal marriage are defined somewhere in the law. Now that same-sex marriage is recognized across the United States, many LGBT couples will no longer require a domestic partner contact. Nonetheless, sometimes couples choose not to be married and, in these instances, a domestic partner contract may be useful.
The purpose of a Domestic Partner Contract is to define the responsibilities of each partner within a domestic household. It does not, and cannot legally, apply to sexual responsibilities. Rather, this type of contract can spell out each partner’s financial contribution to the household or the other partner, each partner’s contribution of labor to the household, and the distribution and title of assets between the partners. It can provide for settlement of financial matters and distribution of assets if the couple dissolve their domestic partnership. Of course, a couple need not be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered to use a Domestic Partner Contract. The contract is not even limited to just two people. It can be used to define any domestic partnership and memorialize the roles and responsibilities of each partner.
When people form a domestic partnership of any sort, even roommates, they rarely think disagreements, troubles, or break-ups will occur, and few people wish to plan for such an occurrence. Nonetheless, sorting out disagreements can be very difficult and enormously expensive if lawyers and litigation must be used. Believe it or not, you cannot call the police to remove someone who has been living in your house. If he or she won’t move voluntarily, you have to bring an eviction action in court even if you alone own the property and are paying all of the expenses. For this and other reasons, you may wish to consider a Domestic Partner Contract to avoid all or most of the difficulty and expense in these circumstances. If you are considering co-mingling substantial assets or taking on substantial joint financial obligations (such as joint ownership of property), you definitely should consider a Domestic Partner Contract.