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.