What Does It Mean To Be In A Domestic Partnership?
A domestic partnership means that the state recognizes two individuals as an unmarried domestic couple, similar to how married couples are treated. In Oregon, two types of domestic partnerships exist: unregistered domestic partnerships and registered domestic partnerships. In unregistered domestic partnerships, same-sex or opposite-sex couples cohabitate and share property, finances and debts. The definition of domestic partnership stated in Oregon law defines a registered domestic partnership. This type of partnership is a civil contract between two individuals of the same sex who are at least eighteen years old. Both parties must have the legal capacity to form a contract. At least one of the individuals must be a resident of Oregon. The individuals in a domestic partnership are called partners.
In 2008, Oregon enacted the Oregon Family Fairness Act, which gave same-sex domestic partnerships the same rights, responsibilities, laws and penalties as opposite-sex married couples. Under the Act, domestic partners received the same privilege, immunity, right or benefit granted by statute, administrative or court rule, and common law to individuals in an opposite-sex marriage. Responsibilities imposed by law, administrative or court rule, policy, or common law to opposite-sex married individuals also apply to domestic partners under the Act. These were also granted and imposed on the child or children of either domestic partner.
Domestic partners also receive the same state tax treatment as opposite-sex spouses. Domestic partners may file as married jointly or separately on their Oregon tax return. However, domestic partners may not file as married jointly on federal tax returns because they are not considered married.
To terminate a registered domestic partnership, one partner must file a Petition for Dissolution of Registered Domestic Partnership form. There are two types of dissolution forms for domestic partnerships: partnerships without children and partnerships with children. Partners may seek child support, partner support, retirement benefits, life insurance, and property and debt division in the dissolution process.