How to Become a Domestic Partner in New York State

Domestic Partnership Registration in NY

The state of New York defines “domestic partnership” as a legal relationship permitted under the State and City of New York laws for couples that have a close and committed personal relationship. The Domestic Partnership Law recognizes the diversity of family configurations, including lesbian, gay, and other non-traditional couples. As such, New York legally recognizes couples who prefer not to get married but are still in committed relationships.

What Qualifies a Domestic Partner in New York?

A couple can register a domestic partnership in New York if they meet the following requirements:

  • The partners have a close and committed personal relationship and live together continuously.
  • Both partners are New York City residents, or the City employs at least one person on the date of registration. In addition, the partners must sign a domestic partnership affidavit at the clerk’s office to swear to their residency.
  • Both people are 18 years of age or older.
  • Neither partner is currently married.
  • Neither person is currently in a domestic partnership nor has been in another domestic partnership within the last six months.
  • The partners are not related to each other by blood in a way that would prevent marriage in New York State.

If you meet all of the above requirements, you can get an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership Form at any of the 5 City Clerk offices without making an appointment. From there, you must complete, sign, and notarize the form to register the domestic partnership legally. Keep in mind that the registration fee is $35 and can pay by credit card or money order made payable to the City Clerk.

When you apply for a domestic partnership in New York, you need to bring a valid, unexpired ID with you. Acceptable types of identification include:

  • Driver’s license (from the United States or one of its territories)
  • Nondriver’s identification card (from the United States or one of its territories)
  • Original Birth Certificate
  • United States Immigration Card
  • A valid passport from any country
  • Official School Record
  • Employee Identification Card

Domestic Partnership vs. Marriage in NYC

Domestic partners still have children, cohabit, and may even share assets despite these unmarried couples. In addition, domestic partners get some of the benefits that married couples receive but not all, as marriages typically include more benefits and rights than domestic partnerships.

For example, domestic partners do NOT get the following benefits that married couples do:

  • State income tax advantages
  • Spousal privilege and confidential marital communication
  • The ability to take out insurance policies on the other partner
  • The inheritance or life insurance rights without an explicit bequest in a will
  • General workers’ compensation death benefits (unless the deceased domestic partner killed on 9/11)
  • The right to use equitable estoppel to enforce parental rights
  • The right to bring a wrongful death claim
  • The right to maintain an action in the division of property under the legal processes of marriage
  • The right to maintain an action based upon an implied contract for personal services
  • The rights afforded to marital residences
  • The right to maintain an action of loss of consortium

How Do You End a Domestic Partnership in New York?

Circumstances change in life, which may prompt you and your partner to pursue termination of your domestic partnership. If that is the case, you or your partner must complete a Termination Statement, and both of you must sign it. In addition, a domestic partnership may be automatically terminated in New York if you and your partner get married, whether to each other or another person.

Typically, you would submit the Termination Statement online or in-person, but due to COVID-19, you can only mail your termination form to:

City Clerk of New York

141 Worth Street

New York, NY 10013

Give Us a Call Today

Our attorneys have helped countless families and couples in Westchester County achieve their goals. We can walk you through the registration process, explain your rights and limitations, and ensure your domestic partnership goals are met when you hire our family lawyers for legal assistance.

Please fill out our contact form online or call (845) 605-4330 to learn more!

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