February 2013 – Domestic Partnership Agreements

Although Arizona does not recognize common law or same-sex marriages, these couples CAN enter into a Domestic Partnership Agreement, which is a contractual agreement setting forth their respective rights and responsibilities as partners in their relationship and living arrangements.

Some Arizona city governments, including Scottsdale and Phoenix, offer domestic partner benefits to the non-employee partner (and children) of their employees who are in a domestic partnership, assuming the partners meet certain criteria.

The City of Phoenix also allows Domestic Partnership Agreements to be “registered” with the City, assuming:

  • the couple resides within the City of Phoenix and share a common residence;
  • neither partner is married to another person;
  • neither partner is part of an existing registered domestic partnership; and
  • both partners are over the age of 18 and not related to one another by blood closer than would bar marriage in the State of Arizona. There are a number of important things to consider when entering into such an Agreement including, but certainly not limited to:
  • If the partners share and pay for a residence that is titled in only one partner’s name and that partner dies, the surviving partner will not have any ownership claim to the residence, unless provided for in the decedent’s Will or Trust.
  • If Arizona later votes to allow common law or same-sex marriages, the marriage certificate will likely not override the Domestic Partnership Agreement. If the partners later divorce, the division of property will likely be dictated by the terms of the Domestic Partnership Agreement, even though Arizona is a community property state.

There are many things to consider before entering into a Domestic Partnership Agreement. If you or someone you know is considering entering into such an Attorney Spotlight Agreement, call Owens & Perkins, Attorneys at Law at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a frr 30-minute phone consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys. We can answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process.