Travis County Offers Domestic Partnership Benefits - The Houston Family Law Blog

The Houston Family Law Blog

Travis County Offers Domestic Partnership Benefits

The state of Texas currently has a ban on same-sex marriage, making the Lone Star state not the most friendly place to live for same-sex couples. As of 2010, only five U.S. states and the District of Columbia perform same-sex marriages. Many states have domestic partnership laws as an alternative to marriage.

Texas, does not have a statewide domestic partnership law. However, Travis County is taking the lead in the state and now recognizes a form of domestic partnership. As opposed to recognizing a marriage or civil union, the county will record a domestic partnership agreement.

This agreement is similar to a marriage or civil union because the couple decides how each partner will provide for the other and how property is owned between them. In this sense, it is similar to a prenuptial agreement without the wedding. The advantage of this agreement is that its recognition by the county allows those in the partnerships to obtain insurance through his or her partner's plan or similar benefits.

Not much is needed to register as a domestic partnership in Travis County. You only need to go to the Travis County Clerk's office in Austin with identification that shows your age and then sign the agreement. Once the agreement is signed, you pay $16 for the first page and $4 for any more pages the document may contain.

While many people associate domestic partnerships with same-sex couples, opposite sex couples can also apply for domestic partnership benefits. In most states that allow domestic partnerships, unmarried couples are also able to be domestic partners to enjoy the economic and non-economic benefits that are similar to that of marriage.

The only limit to Travis County's policy is that the partners must actually live within the county. This means that no Harris County folks from Houston can register as domestic partners in Austin and then come back to Houston to enjoy their benefits. Instead, you'll have to work on your local politicians (good luck).

While states like California offer and regulate domestic partnerships for the entire state, Texas' domestic partnership benefits are strictly regional. However, do not fret if you are not in those counties because certain private organizations and companies all over the state of Texas are also now offering domestic partnership benefits to qualified employees.

Travis County Offers Domestic Partnership Benefits

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The state of Texas currently has a ban on same-sex marriage, making the Lone Star state not the most friendly place to live for same-sex couples. As of 2010, only five U.S. states and the District of Columbia perform same-sex marriages. Many states have domestic partnership laws as an alternative to marriage.

Texas, does not have a statewide domestic partnership law. However, Travis County is taking the lead in the state and now recognizes a form of domestic partnership. As opposed to recognizing a marriage or civil union, the county will record a domestic partnership agreement.

This agreement is similar to a marriage or civil union because the couple decides how each partner will provide for the other and how property is owned between them. In this sense, it is similar to a prenuptial agreement without the wedding. The advantage of this agreement is that its recognition by the county allows those in the partnerships to obtain insurance through his or her partner's plan or similar benefits.

Not much is needed to register as a domestic partnership in Travis County. You only need to go to the Travis County Clerk's office in Austin with identification that shows your age and then sign the agreement. Once the agreement is signed, you pay $16 for the first page and $4 for any more pages the document may contain.

While many people associate domestic partnerships with same-sex couples, opposite sex couples can also apply for domestic partnership benefits. In most states that allow domestic partnerships, unmarried couples are also able to be domestic partners to enjoy the economic and non-economic benefits that are similar to that of marriage.

The only limit to Travis County's policy is that the partners must actually live within the county. This means that no Harris County folks from Houston can register as domestic partners in Austin and then come back to Houston to enjoy their benefits. Instead, you'll have to work on your local politicians (good luck).

While states like California offer and regulate domestic partnerships for the entire state, Texas' domestic partnership benefits are strictly regional. However, do not fret if you are not in those counties because certain private organizations and companies all over the state of Texas are also now offering domestic partnership benefits to qualified employees.

October 2012 Editor's Note: This blog post has been updated by John List, Esq. to ensure relevancy of content and that law cited is current.

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