Domestic partnerships are a way for two people of the same or opposite sex who cohabit to share property, health insurance and other benefits without the full benefits that come with a marriage or civil union. But not all areas give legal status to domestic partnerships. Texas does not recognize domestic partnerships statewide. Only Travis County, which includes the cities of Austin, Lakeway and Lago Vista, allows residents to register a domestic partner. Local government at the city or town level within Travis County carry out the domestic partner registration process.
Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements. You may wish to check these requirements at the Travis County Clerk's office. Before you can register a domestic partner, Travis County requires that you prove you and your partner are in "an emotionally committed relationship of mutual caring, mutual residency, joint responsibility for basic living expenses, and that no other partnership or marriage [has] existed in the last six months." (see References 1) You may also need to furnish proof that you are both 18 or older and mentally competent.
Sign an affidavit. This is an intermedial requirement in some cities of Travis County, including Austin. The affidavit states that you and your partner agree that you fit the definition of a domestic partner as defined by the city of Austin and that you meet the above requirements. Both you and your partner must sign and date the document. (see References 2)
Pay the fee. For a domestic partnership, the "regular recording fee" required to file all records applies. As of September 2010, the fee is $16. (see References 3)
Sign the declaration form with your partner in the presence of the Deputy County Clerk. Remember that although a domestic partnership does not offer the full benefits of marriage or a civil union, it is still legally binding. Once you register your domestic partnership, the partnership is in effect until death unless and until you file for dissolution. There is a six-month wait period to file for termination of the partnerships, with no exceptions. (see References 4)
Items you will need
- Money for the fee
- Declaration form
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