Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Domestic Partners

Domestic partnership provides an option for couples who live together but prefer not to get married. Our Georgia family law attorneys can guide you through the process and legal requirements, ensuring you understand the rights and responsibilities that go along with this commitment.

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Domestic Partnership Rights

One of the main benefits of a domestic partnership is that it can provide each partner with some of the rights married couples enjoy without having to go through the legal process or the entanglements that can result in the event of a divorce.

Domestic partnership is available on a limited basis in Georgia. It is offered only through the City of Atlanta, Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, and Fulton County. As a domestic partner, you are generally entitled to the right to:

  • be listed on your partner’s health insurance or to list them on yours;
  • take paid family leave in the event one of you suffers a serious illness or injury;
  • bereavement leave in the event your partner passes away;
  • visitation in the event you or your partner is hospitalized or incarcerated;
  • be informed and take part in all medical decisions.

These are some, but not all, of the rights from which married couples traditionally benefit. A domestic partnership does not automatically entitle you to inheritance rights or allow you to claim a portion of marital property or spousal support in the event your relationship ends. Nor does it automatically legitimate the father of any children born of the partnership.

Your Responsibilities in a Domestic Partnership

Under Athen-Clarke County Court guidelines, your primary responsibility in a domestic partnership is to be jointly accountable and obligated to the necessities surrounding your life together. This implies sharing household tasks and living expenses. While not enforceable specifically through your domestic partnership, this can form the basis for domestic partnership agreements and civil actions in the event a dispute occurs.

Other local governments offering domestic partnerships have different requirements. It is always best to consult with an experienced attorney to determine what your responsibilities may be in a domestic partnership.