What Is A Domestic Partnership In Maryland?


As defined in Maryland statute, a domestic partnership means a relationship between two people (opposite sex or same sex) who are at least 18 years old, are not related to one another, are not married or in a civil union or domestic partnership with someone else, and agree to be in a relationship of mutual

Are domestic partners recognized in Maryland?

What is Considered Common-Law Marriage in Maryland? – Maryland does not recognize common-law marriages within the state. The state only recognizes common-law marriages created in a state where such a marriage is recognized. Parties to a common-law marriage created in a jurisdiction that recognizes it can obtain rights under the marriage.

How do you establish a domestic partnership in Maryland?

Couples who wish to become domestic partners must provide two pieces of documentation evidence of their bond ; examples may include proof of joint liability for a mortgage, lease, or loan, a joint checking account, a life insurance policy where a partner is the beneficiary, or a relationship or cohabitation contract.

What rights do domestic partners have in Maryland?

What Are the Benefits of Domestic Partnership in Maryland? – Although the individuals in domestic partnerships do not enjoy the same benefits as a married couples, certain states do provide benefits to individuals in domestic partnerships, which may include:

Health, dental and vision insurance; Death benefits and inheritance rights; Visitation rights in jails and hospitals; The authority to make financial and medical decisions for their partner; Accident and life insurance; Housing rights; and Parental leave and adoption rights.

In certain cases, an employer may offer these types of benefits to the individuals in the domestic partnership even if that state does not recognize the domestic partnership relationship. In Maryland, domestic partners have several rights, which include the ability to:

Visit one another in the hospital; Share the same room in a nursing home; Make funeral and burial decisions on behalf of their deceased partner; and Make certain property transfers to each other without incurring tax liability.

It is important to note, however, that these rights are limited as compared to those of married couples. In addition, unlike married couples, domestic partnerships may not be recognized in other states or countries.

What is the point of a domestic partnership?

What does domestic partnership mean? – A domestic partnership is, essentially, an alternative to marriage for couples in a committed relationship. It allows you to define your relationship status. A domestic partnership will entitle you and your partner to some of the same benefits that a married couple enjoys, provided you qualify and your state, county, or municipality recognizes them.

Domestic partnerships may allow you to add your partner to your health insurance plan, but you’ll likely need to provide proof of commitment as required by a government or private entity, such as a shared bank account. This is something that’s unique to a domestic partnership when compared to marriage, which does not require you to show any proof of commitment aside from a marriage certificate.

You can use a Domestic Partnership Agreement to outline the financial, property, health, and medical details of your relationship.

How long is a common law marriage in Maryland?

Do You Have a Common Law Marriage? – We’ve established that Maryland will recognize your common law marriage if the state in which it was created would have. Many people’s next question is, “How long do we have to have lived together to be common law spouses?” Unfortunately, the answer to whether you are common law spouses is not as simple as whether you have lived together for a certain number of years.

Having lived together for a given number of years (in many states, as few as one) Having presented yourselves to the community as husband and wife Intending to be married

Most states that allow common law marriage allow you to file notarized affidavits to establish your common law marriage, or file some sort of registration or declaration of an informal marriage. Falsely filing such documents is a felony in some states, so this is not something to do lightly.

Is common law marriage in Maryland?

Generally speaking, a “common law marriage” is a type of marriage where a couple becomes legally married without participating in a lawful ceremony by living together for a long period of time, intending to be married, and holding themselves out to others as married.

  1. A common law marriage cannot be created in Maryland.
  2. A couple cannot acquire marital rights and responsibilities by living together for a particular period of time or holding themselves out as spouses.
  3. Legal action is not required to dissolve such a relationship.
  4. However, Maryland does recognize as valid, common law marriages created outside of Maryland if the legal requirements of the other jurisdiction have been met.

As a result, legal action is necessary to dissolve a legal “common law” marriage created in another state or foreign country in compliance with their licensing and ceremonial regulations. Maryland courts can and will grant divorces to and determine the rights of “common law” married parties now living in Maryland.

  1. A couple believing themselves to have a common law marriage may be required to prove that their marriage is valid.
  2. This is likely to arise in a divorce or upon the death of either spouse to claim an inheritance, survivor benefits from retirement, or social security.
  3. Determining whether you have a valid common law marriage can be complex, and you should consult with an attorney.
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Which states recognize common law marriages? Only a few U.S. jurisdictions allow the creation of common law marriages. These include Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, Texas, and Utah. The requirements for a valid common law marriage vary in each jurisdiction.

For example, Utah only recognizes common law marriages after they are validated by a court or administrative order. Some states, such as Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina only recognize common law marriages formed before a certain date. Additionally, New Hampshire only recognizes common law marriages for inheritance purposes.

Source Edited by Lindsay Parvis, Esq.; Alexandra Martinez-O’Reilly, Esq.

Is a domestic partnership worth it?

Benefits Available in Domestic Partnerships – Domestic partnerships were initially created to provide basic legal and economic protections to same-sex couples. While marriage is now legal across the United States for everyone, individuals from all walks of life may still choose to enter into a domestic partnership as opposed to marriage for a variety of reasons.

A legal alternative to marriage Domestic partners avoid the “marriage tax penalty” which often forces married couples into a higher tax bracket Full legal rights and obligations related to raising a child born during the domestic partnership Partners are generally able to receive coverage on a family health insurance policy The ability to adopt a child born to a partner prior to the domestic partnership The right to bereavement leave The right to family leave for a sick partner Visitation rights in hospitals and jails

However, there are many legal benefits domestic partners lack that are available only to those who are legally married. For instance, domestic partnerships may not be recognized everywhere you go, even within the United States.

Can a girlfriend be a domestic partner?

A domestic partner can be broadly defined as an unrelated and unmarried person who shares common living quarters with an employee and lives in a committed, intimate relationship that is not legally defined as marriage by the state in which the partners reside.

Do domestic partners file taxes together?

Q7. Do provisions of the federal tax law such as section 66 (treatment of community income) and section 469(i)(5) ($25,000 offset for passive activity losses for rental real estate activities) that apply to married taxpayers apply to registered domestic partners? – A7.

Can I add my girlfriend to my health insurance Maryland?

Can I add my boyfriend to my health insurance? – Employees typically can’t add a boyfriend or girlfriend to their health insurance. “Normally, to obtain coverage under an employer’s plan, a person would need to meet the definition in the benefit plan document for the spouse or domestic partner or dependent,” Lee says.

How do I end a domestic partnership in Maryland?

How to End a Domestic Partnership in Maryland – Maryland requires domestic partnerships to complete a form entitled Termination of Domestic Partnership. The form must be notarized. When the form is completed, it must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office.

What’s the difference between domestic partnership and marriage?

Rights Granted in a Domestic Partnership vs. a Marriage – Marriages and domestic partnerships share a great deal of similarities, but they differ when it comes to the legal rights they provide. California law defines marriage as a civil contract of a personal relationship of two consenting adults, while a domestic partnership centers more around a couple that shares a domestic life together.

  1. Rights You Receive From Marriage in California
    • Joint tax benefits
    • Estate planning benefits
    • Government benefits, such as social security
    • Insurance benefits
    • Financial support
    • Consumer benefits
    • Assets are divided in divorce
    • Assets can be transferred to a spouse without tax
    • Legal rights to children
    • The right to adopt
    • Visitation rights
  2. Rights You Receive from Domestic Partnerships in California
    • Avoid married tax penalty
    • Legal rights to children
    • The right to adopt
    • The right to bereavement leave
    • Family leave for a partner in need
    • Visitation rights
    • Inheritance rights

What are the downsides to a domestic partnership?

Domestic Partner Rights – The rights granted to domestic partners vary from state to state. They may include adding your domestic partner’s health insurance, taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a domestic partner, occupancy rights in public housing, authority to visit each other in the hospital, and be considered next of kin for medical decisions.

Is a boyfriend you live with a domestic partner?

A domestic partnership is an arrangement in which two people live together and are in a committed relationship without being legally married. It shares many of the same benefits as being married. Domestic partnerships are composed of two people of any gender, which includes male, female, or nonbinary people.

The term domestic partner is often used in health insurance to describe who may be covered by a family health policy. Your insurance carrier may also use the term Qualified Domestic Partners (QDP). Set criteria must be met for people to be counted as domestic partners for health insurance or group benefits purposes.

Domestic partners must be a couple for insurance purposes. You can’t be married to a third person and be a domestic partner with someone else.

Can you be straight in a domestic partnership?

Domestic Partnership Law in California – The new year brought in a new California law granting heterosexual couples legal access to domestic partnerships. In the past, only same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples over 62 had legal access to domestic partnerships, but now, thanks to SB30, heterosexual couples can choose domestic partnerships as an alternative to marriage in California.

Can you add a domestic partner to health insurance Maryland?

In order to enroll your Domestic Partner for medical benefits, you and your Domestic Partner must sign this Affidavit of Domestic Partnership. Please carefully read this Affidavit and the information below. Both you and your Domestic Partner must certify that you are Domestic Partners by completing and signing below.

Does Maryland recognize cohabitation agreements?

Negotiating & Drafting Cohabitation Contracts – In Maryland, unmarried cohabitants can create express written contracts that are enforceable in court. They can also create express oral contracts to divide personal property, but best practice is to put any divisions of real property into writing.

  1. Couples should consider drawing up a written “living-together contract” to determine, in advance, the status of joint and separate assets and liabilities, duties and obligations, and other factors unique to each situation.
  2. You can do this with or without an attorney.
  3. However, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney about the consequences of signing the contract and the validity of the contract.
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For example, if the non-marital agreement is intended to continue into marriage, consult an attorney to make sure that this intent is expressed clearly in the agreement. Each partner should use a separate attorney. Since the motives for drawing up contracts differ from couple to couple, there are no uniform clauses that apply to all negotiated, written contracts between unmarried cohabitants.

the names of the parties; the goals and expectations for the relationship; the duration of the agreement; ownership, management, and control of property and income; the parties’ responsibilities for debts; definitions of and responsibilities for support and living expenses; household arrangements, including responsibilities for household chores; personal and interpersonal relations (e.g., use of surname, responsibility for birth control, provision for illness or disability of one partner); relations with others outside the contractual relationship (including career, social, and community commitments); provisions regarding care, custody and support of children; and procedures for changing the contract, resolving disputes or ending the contract, including mediation.

Contact your local law library for assistance in obtaining sample agreements and templates. There is no standard form that can be used by all people. However, you can use these samples as sources for ideas or as guides to drafting your own individualized contracts.

Does Maryland have cohabitation laws?

Property Rights of Unmarried Couples in Maryland Maryland does not allow the creation of a “common law” marriage, a relationship in which a couple lives together but have not participated in a lawful ceremony. Unlike some other states, in Maryland a couple cannot acquire marital rights and responsibilities by living together for a particular period of time.

  • You do not need legal action to end such a relationship, if it was created in Maryland.
  • However, Maryland does recognize as valid, common law marriages created in other states if the legal requirements of those states have been met.
  • As a result, legal action is needed to dissolve legal “common law” marriages performed in other states and foreign countries in compliance with their licensing and ceremonial regulations.

The courts are available for determining the rights of parties now living in Maryland. As long as a couple lives together as husband and wife, the question of validity of their marriage is unlikely to arise. However, for purposes of inheritance or the benefits of pension plans or social security, a valid marriage is required.

Legal Rights of Unmarried People Living Together Cohabitation generally means two unmarried people in a relationship living together. It may be a casual, temporary relationship, an experiment in living together preceding marriage, or a more permanent alternative to marriage. Whatever the degree of emotional commitment between the cohabitants, the United States Census Bureau has reported a dramatic increase in the number of cohabitants during the past three decades.

The number of cohabitants tripled from 1970 to 1980, jumping from 523,000 to 1,560,000. From 1980 to 1990, the number went from 1,589,000 to 2,856,000. The total number of unmarried cohabitants was placed at 5,475,768, including same sex couples. This was a 72% increase over the last decade.

The increase in unmarried couples in Maryland was 46.9%. Although not entitled under the law to the protections that legally married couples have concerning shared property and rights of support, unmarried cohabitants do have legal protections as individuals and can take measures to safeguard their rights.

Furthermore, there is a slowly developing trend in the United States to lessen the gap between the rights and remedies granted to married couples and those given to unmarried cohabitants. Ownership of Real Property Unmarried cohabitants’ rights regarding the ownership of real property are determined by how assets are titled.

  1. Partners may choose to own property as joint tenants or tenants in common,
  2. Property titled as either a joint tenancy or a tenancy in common is a form of ownership in which two or more persons have an undivided interest in the real property.
  3. The principal difference between a joint tenancy and a tenancy in common is that partners holding property as joint tenants have a right of survivorship, whereas partners holding property as tenants in common do not.

Thus, in a joint tenancy, when one partner dies, sole ownership of the real property automatically passes to the surviving partner. A tenant in common, on the other hand, can transfer their property interest via a will; or if the tenant in common dies intestate, their real property interest will pass under the statute of descent.

  • Under Maryland law, there is a presumption against joint tenancy,
  • This means that documents, such as deeds, must expressly provide that the real property is to be owned as a joint tenancy for it to be legally recognized as such.
  • Therefore, if purchasing real property with the intent of joint tenant ownership, explicit language indicating that intent is necessary.

The deed must indicate ownership as joint tenants, In the absence of this language, ownership will be assumed to be a tenancy in common

Death Benefits If one unmarried cohabitant dies, is the surviving cohabitant entitled to any benefits? The answer, which differs depending on the controlling law, is especially crucial to a dependent surviving cohabitant who has no independent financial means. Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act When a person dies from an injury that arose out of and in the course of his or her employment, that employee’s survivors are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Maryland if the act covers the particular situation. The sole standard for determining survivor’s benefits under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act is dependency. An unmarried cohabitant who can show that he or she was wholly or partly dependent on the deceased employee at the time of the injury resulting in death will receive benefits. A dependent is one who was receiving in whole or in part the “reasonable necessities of life” from a worker at the time of the work-related injury causing the workers’ death. The worker must have actually supported the survivor, and the survivor must have in fact relied upon the worker’s earnings for his or her livelihood, in whole or in part. The Workers’ Compensation Commission, in accordance with the facts in each case, determines whether a survivor is dependent. Worker compensation claims by survivors are generally of two types. First, dependents claim an award of permanent total or permanent partial disability compensation left unpaid at the death of the employee. In such a case, the employee has died from causes not related to his or her compensable injury. An unmarried cohabitant would not be able to take this award unless he or she was designated as the recipient in the deceased cohabitant’s will. However, the children of unmarried cohabitants may have rights of inheritance. (See Children of Unmarried Cohabitants for a discussion of a child’s rights to death benefits and inheritance.) The second type of claim is the case where the death was the result of and occurred within seven years of the compensable work-related injury. An unmarried cohabitant would receive death benefits in this situation if he or she was a dependent of the deceased. Federal Statutes There is a general reluctance in federal statutes, e.g., the Death on the High Seas Act, the Jones Act, the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Veterans’ Administration Act, to grant death benefits to a surviving unmarried cohabitant even if one cohabitant believed in good faith that he or she was validly married. The statutes usually refer to surviving “widows” and “widowers,” terms that have been construed by the courts to exclude unmarried cohabitants. Refer to the appropriate federal law that covers the specific situation to see if benefits are available. If the employee cohabitant dies in a jurisdiction that, unlike Maryland, recognizes common-law marriage, the surviving cohabitant may be able to obtain federal benefits. Social Security An unmarried cohabitant is not entitled to death benefits payable under the Social Security Act, unless he or she qualifies as a common-law spouse in a state that recognizes common-law marriage. The law of the state where the insured was domiciled at the time of death governs. Therefore, in Maryland the surviving member of a gay or lesbian couple is not entitled to death benefits. Insurance If an automobile liability insurance policy contains a “household exclusion” clause relieving the insurance carrier of liability to members of the insured’s “family” or “household” for their injuries caused by the insured, an unmarried cohabitant is not excluded. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has determined that an unmarried cohabitant is a residing relative when that person abandons his or her home, puts his or her belongings into storage, lives in a close family environment and shares meals together with other household members. On the other hand, if automobile liability insurance coverage is extended in the policy to persons living in the same household, unmarried cohabitants are covered. If the policy only covers “spouses,” then unmarried cohabitants are not protected. Read the automobile insurance policy carefully to see what language is used to designate who is excluded from or included in coverage. With life insurance, one member of a heterosexual or gay/lesbian couple is free to designate his or her partner as a beneficiary and to change this designation at a later date. Wills and Inheritance An unmarried cohabitant may leave property to his or her surviving partner in a will. He or she may also revoke this devise or bequest later. In the absence of a will, an unmarried cohabitant will not receive any of the property left by his or her deceased partner. This is also true for same-sex couples. If the unmarried partner has not written a will, state law governs the division of his or her property. Any part of the estate of the deceased partner that is not disposed of by will shall be distributed to legal relatives of the decedent. Whether or not there is a will, an unmarried cohabitant may want to prepare a Letter of Instruction. The purpose of the Letter of Instruction is to guide the family on matters not covered by the will. Though the Letter cannot be legally enforced, it can be used to provide the surviving partner with the information needed to close the deceased partner’s affairs. The Letter may include directions for funeral arrangements and indicate family and friends to be notified concerning the death. Additionally, the Letter may include locations of important documents concerning life insurance, bank accounts, and other personal papers. Taxes The full tax ramifications of living together as opposed to marriage are far too complex to be examined in detail here. Additionally, they are likely to change frequently. At the very least, unmarried cohabitants should know that, unlike married couples, they can not file joint tax returns. A simple comparative check of each year’s tax tables for unmarried persons and married couples will reveal the amount of money saved in individual situations. For more information, contact the Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.gov, MD. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. §9-678 (1991). Willis v. Allstate Insurance Company, 88 Md. App.21, 591 A.2d 896 (1991).
Source: This section is drawn from the booklet entitled “Legal Rights of Unmarried Cohabitants in Maryland” produced by and available from The Women’s Law Center,
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Frequently asked questions to help unmarried couples determine who owns what.

Is my girlfriend considered a domestic partner?

A domestic partner can be broadly defined as an unrelated and unmarried person who shares common living quarters with an employee and lives in a committed, intimate relationship that is not legally defined as marriage by the state in which the partners reside.