October 14, 2016

Protecting Your Assets in a Domestic Partnership

Civil Unions

Relationships are complicated. Even marriages entered into in good faith can face difficulties down the line and can have very messy endings. There can be long, complicated, contentious and drawn out proceedings when it comes to the split and who gets what. Personal property, major decision-making powers, and control over assets, children, and financial support are some of the major bones of contention between couples when their relationship ends. And while married couples can draft a prenuptial agreement before they marry, and are bound to abide by its provisions, so should couples in domestic partnerships. Over 12 million unmarried partners live together in 6,008,007 households in the United States.

The partnerships, also known as civil unions, share many of the same characteristics of a marital situation in terms of the relationship, but in many cases (or states) they are not recognized as relationships that would share in many legal benefits. Therefore, it would be wise to craft a protective agreement so in the event the relationship ends, there is some clarity about how things will be distributed. To do so, you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney to assist you through this process.

What Is Lacking?

Marriage is essentially a contract. A contract between two people, to agree and abide on their life decisions going forward. But if you are prevented by law from being married, or choose to live in a domestic partnership, there is an underlying objective to make mutual decisions for the good of each other and your family but nothing recognized in the eyes of the law. Certain rights are not afforded to you if you are not legally married including:

  • Rights to inheritance;
  • Ability to make medical decisions or even visit a partner in hospital;
  • Rights to dental & health insurance through a spouse’s employer; and
  • Rights to parental leave.

Domestic partners face closed doors in many situations as did many couples in same-sex relationships before their ability to marry was granted by the United States Supreme Court. One way to be proactive and eliminate being stonewalled if your relationship dissolves is to have a civil union agreement in place to protect what is yours.

The Benefits of a Civil Union Agreement

Such an agreement can put in place instructions in the event a partner dies and the question of benefits under their estate and potential inheritance.

If there are children of the partnership, what custodial and support arrangements will be made in the event the relationship dissolves?

The property the couple have accumulated or entered the relationship with can be cataloged in a way and divided according to the couple’s wishes when the relationship terminates.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys

In the event you need to call upon the services of a family law attorney, like working with any other professional, you should seek out who is the best fit for your situation. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call Mulyk Laho Law, LLC today at (630) 852-1100 for a free consultation.