Domestic Partnership Agreements

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Domestic partnership agreements are like premarital agreements for unmarried couples.  They are contracts that set out how assets and debts will be divided if domestic partners end their relationship.  They can be used by both same-sex couples and unmarried opposite sex couples.  They are also useful for same-sex couples living in Indiana who married in another state. Indiana still considers you to be unmarried and, if you end the relationship, you currently cannot get divorced in Indiana.  Divorce laws may not be available to protect you.  Creating a domestic partnership agreement may not be very romantic, but it can ease the financial pain of a break-up if it ever happens. Break-ups are difficult enough without adding the burden of expensive lawsuits.

Domestic partnership agreements can be created at the beginning of the relationship or many years into it. They are useful planning tools in all relationships but are especially important where the couple has a business, together or separately, where significant assets, like a home, are titled to only one partner or where one partner does not work outside the home. Domestic partnership agreements can be very specific or more general. At a minimum, the agreement should cover things like which assets are separate assets and which are to be considered joint, how household expenses are to be managed, how debts are handled and how property will be divided if the relationship ends.

If you do not have a domestic partnership agreement and your relationship ends, the protections for married couples available through divorce law don’t apply.  In these circumstances there are limited legal remedies available. They are complex and expensive to enforce or defend against.  Without a domestic partnership agreement you could be left with limited protections or, on the other hand, you could be forced to incur legal liabilities to your former partner that you never intended to incur.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to discuss creating a domestic partnership agreement contact Lemieux Law