While the state of New York has clear laws surrounding all the details of divorce, the same can’t be said for the termination of domestic partnerships. Because this is a relatively new area of the law, legislators haven’t caught up with the need for legal guidance. While New York couples can choose marriage or a domestic relationship, the dissolution procedures for these relationships vary considerably.
What’s the Difference Between Marriage and Domestic Partnership?
There can be some confusion about the legal status of your relationship. As of July 24, 2011, same-sex marriage has been legal in New York. When a couple marries, regardless of sexual orientation, they must obtain a marriage license, wait for 24 hours, and marry in the state. Couples also have the option to legally register as domestic partners, rather than marry. A domestic partnership has some of the benefits of marriage, such as sharing health insurance and employee benefits. To register as domestic partners, you must submit an application and pay a filing fee.
Dissolving a Domestic Partnership
Terminating a domestic partnership is far easier than ending a marriage. These relationships can be terminated at any time by either partner, simply by filing a termination statement in person at the county or city office that processed the original registration.
The termination statement states that the partners are no longer partners and the partnership. If you live in New York City, it may be possible to file by mail. You will, however, have to present a convincing argument as to why you are unable to file in person.
Resolving Partnership Issues After Termination
While the termination statement breaks the legal bond, there is still a myriad of problems that will need to be resolved before a couple can consider their lives separate. A termination statement doesn’t address the issues of shared property, child custody, or other similar issues that arise with the breakup of a relationship. A couple will need to determine these issues on their own, which can be especially tricky if the couple has been together for years and have shared property. Because there are no clear-cut laws, it can be difficult for couples to find the guidance they need when tackling these complex issues.
If partners own a home together, there is no divorce proceeding to decide the fate of the property. Similarly, if there is a child involved, the couple will need to file a separate child custody case. Often there are other ways a couple can work through their issues. A neutral third party, such as a mediator, can help the couple make these tough decisions and resolve the termination on their terms.
Our New York City Family Law Attorneys Can Help – (917) 809-7669
With more than 30 years of collective legal experience, our team at Goldweber Epstein LLP has helped many clients through their divorce and domestic partnership terminations. We possess the knowledge and skill to guide you through the process of your breakup, no matter how it is legally recognized. Our New York City family law attorneys are here to help. Learn more today.
Contact our team today by calling (917) 809-7669.