Domestic Partnership Vs Marriage – Explained In 2021

The eternal debate of domestic partnership vs marriage is still ongoing. Well, for many couples who want to explore their relationship before marriage, a domestic partnership is a valid option. However, especially for homosexual couples whose marriages are illegal in some countries, opting for domestic partnerships is a safer choice. 

However, many hurdles come for a couple in a domestic partnership, whereas it becomes a lot easier for the married couples. So, before you decide to take the next step with your partner, make sure you know the difference between domestic partnership vs marriage. 

But, before that, let’s take a look at what domestic partnership is actually.

What Is Domestic Partnership?

What Is Domestic Partnership?

A domestic partnership is more popularly known as ‘live-in’ or ‘live together.’ It is a new way to define one’s relationship status. In most cases, domestic partners enjoy the same benefits as married couples. 

However, you must prove your commitment; otherwise, you can’t entitle your partner to the same benefits as a married couple. For example, you can add your partner to your health insurance plan, and you can also share a bank account but only with proof of commitment. 

But, if you think of marriage vs. domestic partnership, there is no extra proof required aside from a marriage certificate for the married couples. Domestic partners can also adopt the child of their partners after the second adoption. But, in that case, the child’s biological parent must absolve their rights first.

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Domestic Partnership Vs Marriage-What Are The Differences?

If you are wondering what a domestic partner is, let me tell you, people choose to stay committed with their partners aside from the marital boundaries. There are some key differences between domestic partnership vs marriage. Let’s take a look at them;

Categories Domestic Partnership Marriage
Recognition A domestic partnership is not recognized in all states of the U.S. Neither is it recognized in all the countries, especially third-world countries. However, marriage is legally recognized in all states and all countries of the world.
Legal Considerations Domestic partners are not always considered family by law. So, if your domestic partner gets a transfer overseas, you cannot ask for the same as a spouse. But, married couples are always considered families. So, if your husband/wife gets a transfer overseas, you are eligible to get the same. 
Property Inheritance Upon the death of your domestic partner, you don’t automatically acquire their properties. Even if you inherit them through a will, you will be subjected to pay the tax. Upon the death of one partner in a marriage, the other partner automatically acquires all the assets. They don’t even have to pay any taxes upon the acquisition. 

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What Are The Limits Of A Domestic Partner?

What Are The Limits Of A Domestic Partner?

In domestic partnership vs marriage, there are indeed some differences. But, there are many limits to the rights of a domestic partner, unlike married couples. 

  1. The main drawback is that many insurance companies don’t recognize the rights of a domestic partner the same way they acknowledge married couples. It means they face a limit on insurance coverage for any medical treatment, even if their partner has the insurance.
  2. Domestic partners are not qualified to file for taxes together. In domestic partnership vs marriage, the married couples get several tax benefits regarding tax savings and deductions. However, domestic partners are not eligible for such benefits, which means they have to pay extra tax even if they stay together.
  3. If the domestic partner has an accident, all the hospitals won’t qualify the other partner to take the crucial decisions. In addition, they don’t always allow the domestic partners to visit the patient as they are not immediate family members. In that case, the partner has to wait for the family to arrive and sign the documents before the operations begin.
  4. Domestic partnership vs marriage has other restrictions also when it comes to child adoption. If one of the partners dies, the other partner doesn’t get the child’s rights immediately. The biological parent has to renounce their rights to the child to make the other partner its legal guardian.

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What Are The Benefits Of A Domestic Partnership?

What Are The Benefits Of A Domestic Partnership?

If you think between domestic partnership vs marriage, the married couple gets the most benefits, you are right. But, that doesn’t mean that domestic partnership has not got any advantage. Let’s take a look at its benefits;

  • Domestic partners are eligible for housing rights.
  • They are qualified for accidents and life insurance.
  • These partners have visitation rights in hospitals and jails.
  • Domestic partners can make financial decisions or medical decisions on the partner’s behalf.
  • They are eligible for property inheritance rights after death.
  • These partners are qualified for sick leaves and bereavement leaves.
  • Domestic partners can have adoption rights.
  • They are further eligible for dental benefits and medical benefits. 

Now, remember that the benefits we mentioned here are also subject to change if you don’t have a domestic partnership agreement. Even if you have the document, many states and many countries won’t recognize these rights as well.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Do you think we have answered all your queries regarding domestic partnership vs marriage? Well, let’s take a look at these questions now if you have some queries left.

1: Which States Recognize Domestic Partnership Legally?

Ans: District of Columbia, New Jersey, Nevada, Washington, Nevada, New Jersey. Connecticut, California are some of the states that offer domestic partnerships. In Michigan, couples will find the benefits of domestic partnership in some limited companies and municipalities only. But, if you stay in Detroit, Kalamazoo, or East Lansing, you can apply for it.

2: How To Register For Domestic Partnership?

Ans: It depends on your state, and based on that state law, you can register for domestic partnerships with the local government or your employer. You’ll need to sign the application in the presence of witnesses. A notary public will verify your identities, and then you will pay the fees.

3: Does Federal Law Acknowledge Domestic Partnership?

Ans: No, the deferral law does not yet acknowledge domestic partnership as legal. So, if you want the same rights as a married couple while in a domestic partnership, that won’t be possible under federal regulations. 


The dilemma of marriage vs. domestic partnership won’t end anytime soon. But, if you decide to go for a domestic partnership, make sure to contact your attorney before making the final decision. They will explain to you the pros and cons of such partnerships better so that you can make a well-informed decision. If you have any other questions for us, please share them in the comment box.

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