Domestic partnership laws are rapidly evolving. Our domestic partnership attorneys provide gay and lesbian couples with family law services including:
Domestic partnership agreements
Termination of non-marital relationships
Other civil union guidance
Domestic partnerships were born in the early 1980's, when lesbian and gay activists sought recognition of their relationships and new definitions of family. Advocates for domestic partner rights pointed out that an estimated 10% of American families comprise a working husband, a stay at home wife, and children; however, our legal and social systems still provided benefits and protections based on that model. Presented with these arguments, some local governments created domestic partnership laws
Today, a number of states and hundreds of municipalities, counties, private companies, organizations, colleges, and universities offer domestic partnership benefits. The complete list of institutions is extensive; the benefits offered by each is not, however. In some cases, all that is offered is bereavement or sick leave. In other situations, the benefits offered are comprehensive – but also costly.
Often, either the employee foots the bill for his or her partner or the company pays (when it also pays for spouses), but the employee must pay taxes on the benefits. This is because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers benefits awarded to an unmarried partner as taxable compensation. Before getting married, it is most important that both domestic partners consult with a knowledgeable and experienced law firm, such as Zimmer & Associates to find out exactly what your rights re and what else you both need to be aware of.