Getting married is a financial and logistical nightmare. Sure, doing a lot of emotional dancing with sparklers at an open bar looks fun on Instagram.
But the horror stories I’ve heard from friends involving the planning and jacked up prices on literally everything from the tablecloths to phallic-shaped cake as soon as someone breathes the word “wedding” is enough to make you embrace celibacy in a van down by the river. (At least for the weekend, which you’ll later explain away as a “writing retreat.”)
Thanks to Millennial student debt and stagnating salaries while the cost of everything around us rises, people are going so far as to take out wedding loans WITH UP TO A 30% INTEREST RATE.
I’m sorry, but going into deep debt over fleeting societal pressures is a dumbass move. And this is from someone who frequently, drunkenly eBay bids out of spite.
What’s more, even though Millennials are getting divorced less frequently than past generations because we’re taking longer to find partners instead of settling down with the first person that didn’t run when they saw us naked—divorce is not a fun option.
There’s the emotional trial of attempting to split up two lives, plus the financial repercussions, even with a prenup.
The latter being a former paramour’s favorite topic, as he railed against how they failed to protect your assets after the beginning of the marriage.
Clearly, we’re no longer together, and he bought a bigger boat.
So, what if you’re living with a sig other and don’t want to get married quite yet, but wouldn’t mind legally reaping the benefits of a shared lease?
Primarily, if you want your partner’s health insurance while you’re freelancing or between jobs. Enter the glory of the domestic partnership!
A domestic partnership is recognized by law, and it’ll buy you time if you’re on the fence about marriage either to your current partner, or the concept as a whole.
Domestic partnerships definitely skew towards the practical side, and it requires necessary paperwork, a quick jaunt to the county clerk’s office, proof of a cosigned lease, and a bank account with a certain amount sitting in it. (Which, if you’re living with someone, isn’t a bad idea, to begin with anyway, so you’re not constantly fighting over splitting bills.)
In New York, it costs a cool $35, the same as a marriage license, if your city or state recognizes a domestic partnership.
There are some drawbacks to a domestic partnership.
First, your location might not recognize it, so you’ll have to do some digging on your respective area.
And if you’re looking for legal rights in your relationship, you’ll have to look outside the domestic partnership for the following paperwork:
- Living Together Agreement
- Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Power of Attorney for Finances
- Hospital Visitation Authorization
- Living Wills or Directive to Physicians
- Living (Revocable) Trusts
- Legal Precautions for Partners who Parent
Plus, according to Bankrate, “Unlike insurance benefits granted to married individuals, contributions made for employees who elect to participate in the Domestic Partner benefits plan are considered taxable income by the federal government — unless those receiving benefits meet the definition of “dependent” under the Internal Revenue Code (receiving half of his/her support from the taxpayer).”
In short, you’re not going to get state or federal tax benefits.
Another thing to remember—many jurisdictions phased out domestic partnerships laws after the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry (about damn time).
Some lawmakers concluded that domestic partnerships were unnecessary, now that people are free to marry those they love.
“Ehhhhh,” you may still be saying. “I’m not sure if I want a hardcore legal document binding me to my S.O.”
Well, first of all, you should reevaluate your relationship, and domestic partnership “termination” documents only cost $27 and require one of you to show up to the county clerk’s office (at least in New York).
It’ll probably be easier than splitting up your barware or rapidly expanding succulents collection.
Domestic partnerships may not be the most romantic move, but at least you two can now visit the doctor’s office, together.
Order Sarah Solomon’s “Guac Is Extra But So Am I: The Reluctant Adult’s Handbook” through Amazon here, or anywhere books are sold.
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