Domestic partnerships in Texas can be somewhat confusing as the rights and privileges of a domestic partnership vary from state to state. State law reigns supreme for the issue, yet many cities and municipalities address domestic partnerships with local laws and ordinances.
While such measures are usually intended to further the rights of same-sex couples, they often serve to muddy the waters and make the legal status even more confusing.
What Is A Domestic Partner?
Generally speaking, a domestic partner is an unmarried individual who shares a residence with their sexual partner. Most domestic partners are same-sex couples, but the same opportunity gets extended to unmarried heterosexual couples.
Some states recognize domestic partnerships, though only for limited purposes. The most common example is when a hospitalized patient cannot communicate with their doctors to make important healthcare decisions.
In such cases, an unmarried, domestic partner may get permitted to act as a healthcare proxy or surrogate.
A business located where no domestic-partner laws exist is free to set any parameters it wants.
Although a married employee is rarely even asked to produce a marriage license as proof of the relationship, individuals seeking domestic-partnership benefits are often asked to prove that they and their partners meet many or all of the following criteria:
- Have been together for a specified period
- Are responsible for each other’s financial welfare
- Are not blood relatives
- Share a home
- Are at least 18 years of age
- Are mentally competent
- Would get legally married should the option become available
- Are registered as domestic partners if there is a local domestic-partner registry
- They are not legally married to anyone.
- Have legal power of attorney for each other
What Are The Benefits?
Again, unless required by local law to offer domestic-partnership benefits identical to those provided in such cases to married employees, you shouldn’t assume an affirmative answer to your earlier question means you’re getting the services you think you’re getting.
Finding out how the company’s domestic-partner benefits compare to spousal benefits will tell you a lot about how equality-minded the employer is.
Is This Equality?
The increasingly widespread adoption of domestic-partnership benefits is an essential step toward equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. However, there are still significant differences in legal treatment.
One of the most glaring inequalities in taxation on domestic-partnership benefits. Unlike benefits for legal spouses, which are tax-exempt, any benefits employees receive for a domestic partner are taxable as if they were part of the paycheck.
In the meantime, if your employer doesn’t offer domestic-partner benefits, don’t lose hope. Many professional and political organizations have made this issue a high priority. If you’re inclined to try to change things, start by educating yourself.
Learning and unlearning the vast ins and outs of a domestic partnership in Texas can be confusing at times. On the link are some tips to simplify the process.
Understanding What Is Domestic Assault
Domestic violence refers to violent or abusive acts committed by one family or household members against another, such as child abuse or spousal abuse. Domestic violence can refer to physical harm or behavior that is controlling, coercive, or threatening.
It can occur in any kind of intimate relationship — married or unmarried, straight or gay, living together, or simply dating.
Domestic violence (sometimes called “spousal abuse”) usually involves:
Repetitive physical and psychological abuse
A “cycle of violence.”
Specific crimes charged vary based on:
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
- Whether a minor was present
- Whether a protective or restraining order was violated
Anyone can become a domestic violence offender or victim. While rape and murder can be forms of domestic violence, domestic violence often consists of lesser forms of physical abuse such as slapping and pushing. Stalking can also be a form of domestic violence.
Want to know about the laws involved in the process of what is domestic assault, Click here.
Unmarried individuals participating in a domestic partnership in Texas who meet the established criteria may apply to record their domestic league on the local registry. The criteria include:
- Both partners must share a typical residence within the city boundaries
- Both partners are in a committed relationship and share responsibility for each other’s common welfare
- Neither party is married (to each other or a third party)
- Neither partner is part of an existing civil union or domestic partnership with a third party
- Both individuals are at least 18 years old and possess the capacity to enter into a contract
- The partners are not related to one another by blood closer than the level that would bar legal marriage under state law
Note – that there are no time requirements for the relationship or cohabitation like you may find in other states. It doesn’t matter whether the partners have been together for seven weeks or seven years.