Domestic partnerships for same-sex couples have been available in Wisconsin since 2009. To register for a domestic partnership, the partners must be:

  • The same gender
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Not be more closely-related than second cousins
  • Share a common residence
  • Not be married or in a domestic partnership with someone else

How Does the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage Affect Domestic Partnerships?

In 2015, same-sex marriage became legal in the United States. Currently, same-sex couples in Wisconsin have a choice of whether to marry or to seek domestic partnerships. However, a domestic partnership is automatically terminated if the partners decide to enter into a marriage.

What Rights Are Available to Domestic Partners in Wisconsin?

The rights of domestic partnerships include many of the rights that one might consider fundamental to marriage. These rights include:

  • The right to inherit property from a partner through intestacy
  • The right to sue for the wrongful death of a domestic partner
  • Immunity from testifying against partners in court
  • Availability of crime victim compensation

However, domestic partnerships in Wisconsin do not confer all of the rights and responsibilities that married couples are entitled to. Entering into a domestic partnership does not grant domestic partners certain federal benefits, and the partnership may not be recognized in other states or countries.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Since there are differences between domestic partnerships and marriage in Wisconsin, you should talk to a Wisconsin family attorney if you are in the process of figuring out which type of domestic arrangement is best for your situation. A lawyer can explain the differences between the two and how to get each one.