Friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, roommates, or family; when you are in a personal relationship with someone, there are responsibilities, duties, and rights that come along with it. When you’re friends with someone, you have the right to call them up at a moment’s notice, and you have the duty to be there for them when they need you most. When you’re in a romantic relationship, you have the right to be loved and the duty to give love right back. A few of these relationships come along with legal rights. You can visit them in the hospital when they’re sick or share financial responsibility.
Since 1998, couples in St. Louis have been able to call their relationship a domestic partnership. By definition, a domestic partnership is a relationship that is between two people who live together. To be in a domestic partnership, the two people must not be legally married or have a civil union. The definition, recognition, and benefits of domestic partnerships vary state-by-state, city-by-city.
Both heterosexual and same sex marriage is legal in the city of St. Louis, but many couples in St. Louis choose to enter into a domestic partnership. Perhaps you are an unmarried couple and one of you falls ill. In order to be able to visit them and learn information about their health, a domestic partnership would allow that. If you aren’t in a romantic relationship, but you have been living with your roommate for quite some time now, so much so, you feel like family. Without a domestic partnership, you too would be unable to visit your roommate if he or she fell ill and had to go to the hospital.
St. Louis, Missouri Domestic Partnerships
According to St. Louis City Ordinance 64401, in St. Louis, Missouri, to be in a domestic partnership, the following must be true:
- Both persons should be 18 or older.
- They should have a close and committed personal relationship.
- They live together in St. Louis City, and have been doing so continually.
- They have registered as partners.
- They can’t be married, blood related, or in a civil union.
Pairs that are either heterosexual or are of the same sex can become domestic partners in St. Louis. The fee is $10.
Domestic Partnership Rights and Benefits
As I mentioned before, the major right involved in becoming domestic partners is visitation rights in hospitals. Besides that, some companies recognize domestic partnerships in considerations to insurance and other benefits. In that sense, domestic partners are receiving some of the same recognition as a married couple.
When you become domestic partners, the pair gains more responsibility for one another. Depending on your situation, you could have a joint mortgage or lease. You could also put the other person as the beneficiary on your life insurance policy. Your partner also becomes your “durable power of attorney” if you become ill or for your finances if you pass away. After becoming domestic partners, your taxes will also be affected.
Domestic Partnership Registry
The domestic partnership registry, which is the record of all registered domestic partners, is maintained in St. Louis City. By being on this list, it means that regardless of whether you are in a same-sex or heterosexual partnership, your partnership rights are protected by the city. To register, both people who want to become partners need to come to the Register’s Office. You both need to have filled out a “Declaration of Domestic Partnership” form. You also need to bring a proof of residency. This can be a utility or cable bill, or your lease. You can both bring in different forms of proof of your residency. Also, they don’t necessarily need to have both of your names on it. Both documents need to show residency in the same address, though. You also need to bring a photo ID (passport, driver’s license, etc.)
The process takes around seven days.
Ending a domestic partnership is a simple process in St. Louis, Missouri. One partner files a “termination statement” with both of the partners’ signatures on it.
How a Family Lawyer Can Help with Domestic Partnerships
While the process to become domestic partners is quite simple, that doesn’t mean it comes without questions. Couples come to me with questions like the following:
- Can we become domestic partners in Saint Louis if we live with other people besides each other?
- If my company doesn’t recognize domestic partnerships in terms of insurance and benefits, what can I do about that?
- As domestic partners, can we adopt children?
- If we are domestic partners and we want to become married, is the process different?
- Do we need to renew our domestic partnership?
- What rights do I have when my partner and I end our domestic partnership? Is it similar to a divorce?
- I know we are not getting married, but should my partner and I get a prenuptial agreement before becoming domestic partners? How do we make sure we are financially squared away?
Regardless of your questions, I am here to help. As a St. Louis family lawyer, I help people just like you figure out what the best option is for you and your families. I can also help expedite the process by making sure all the paperwork is properly filled out and you know where to go, and when.
Give me a call and we’ll start this process!