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How do domestic partnerships in Georgia differ from a marriage?

Marriage does not appeal to all couples. For those who reside in the Atlanta metro area, a domestic partnership may turn out more fitting. 

When a couple commits to each other in a domestic partnership, it gives them some of the same benefits as married spouses. However, there are some differences, and a couple may want to consider if the trade-off is worth it. 

What qualifies as a domestic partnership?

A domestic partnership requires a declaration stating, in part: 

  • The couple shares a residence 
  • They agree to share life obligations 
  • Neither partner has a matrimonial bond with someone else 
  • The parties commit to each other for life 

The declaration of domestic partnership becomes legally binding when filed with the court. 

What benefits are similar to marriage?

Once a couple files a declaration of domestic partnership, they may start receiving certain benefits similar to spouses. One partner may add the other to employer health insurance providing coverage. A domestic partner may make contributions to the other’s retirement or 401k plan. A domestic partner may also qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act to care for children or the other partner. 

What differs from marriage?

There are three main areas where domestic partnerships fall short of marriage. First, if one spouse dies suddenly, the other automatically inherits the estate. This is not the case in a domestic partnership. Also, in marriage paternity of a child is automatic and does not require testing. For domestic partners who have children, paternity needs establishing through a blood test. Finally, there is no tax benefit for a domestic partnership as there is for a married couple. 

A couple may choose domestic partnership because they do not wish to go through a divorce. Keep in mind that splitting up, regardless of marital status, is rarely simple.