Many same-sex couples registered under domestic partnerships. But in 2015, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling said that all states should recognize same-sex couples’ constitutional rights to marry following the 14th Amendment and that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. This was a momentous decision for many same-sex couples and their families, who had been denied the same rights as heterosexual couples for too long. It was also a victory for equality and justice, finally ensuring that all people are treated equally under the law.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between marriage and domestic partnerships:

State Recognition for Domestic Partnerships

Although many same-sex couples are now registered under marriage, a few states still recognize that some couples simply do not wish to get married and thus, still recognize domestic partnerships. This includes states such as California, Nevada, and Oregon. In these states, domestic partnerships provide couples with many of the same rights as married couples, such as the right to visit each other in the hospital and make medical decisions for each other. However, it’s important to note that laws applicable to domestic partnerships vary widely from state to state, and not all counties and cities within a state may recognize domestic partnership registration. Hence, it’s always best to check with applicable laws to see which rights and protections are available to you and your partner under a domestic partnership.


When a married couple decides to get a divorce, they will have to decide whether it was an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This means the marriage is no longer able to be saved and that the couple is unable to continue living together. Several things can constitute an irretrievable breakdown, such as adultery, domestic violence, or abandonment. If one spouse can show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, then they will typically be granted a divorce. Just as with heterosexual couples, same-sex couples who are married can get divorced in a similar legal process.

divorce talks

Meanwhile, domestic partnerships do not have the same legal status as marriages. The process for dissolving a domestic partnership can vary widely from one state to another. When a domestic partnership ends, it can generally happen in two ways: through divorce or termination. If the domestic partnership is terminated, both partners have agreed to end the relationship, and there is no further legal connection between them. This can be done by filing a termination agreement to end the relationship. However, the process can get more complicated if the couple has children together or if they own property jointly. In these cases, it’s always best to seek legal counsel to ensure all the appropriate steps are taken.

Child Custody

Similar to divorce, LGBT parents also share the same rights as heterosexual parents if they are both the child’s legal parents. This means the child custody process will be largely similar, with both parents working together to develop a child custody agreement that is in the child’s best interests. In most cases, parents share physical and legal custody. This means that both parents will spend time with the children and make decisions about their care. These cases are often resolved if the spouses agree on a custody arrangement.

However, if your divorce didn’t end on good terms, you may have difficulty agreeing with your ex about your child’s care and upbringing. It’s important to remember that although you and your ex are no longer on speaking terms, your child’s best interests are always of paramount importance. This is why you should hire an LGBT child custody lawyer to help ensure all your child’s needs are met, even if it means going to court. Regardless of how your relationship with your ex ended, you are still your child’s parent, and they shouldn’t be taken away from you.

Taxes and Other Legal Aspects

One of the main differences between marriage and domestic partnerships is more evident in their federal taxes. Since they aren’t married, they cannot file their federal taxes under a married status. This changes how domestic partners are taxed on their income and how they can file for certain deductions. It’s essential to understand how this will affect your taxes so that you can file them correctly and avoid any penalties.

Additionally, as an example, domestic partners might also find a difference in inheritance rights compared to married couples in certain states. If one spouse dies without a will, the other spouse will typically inherit all of their property. This is not always the case for domestic partners and can often lead to complicated and costly legal processes.

Understanding the differences between marriage and domestic partnerships is important for couples considering whether to get married. This allows them to weigh their options better and helps them make informed decisions about their relationship.

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