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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Oct 31, 2016

In the eyes of the law, domestic partnerships are for when 2 people, whether homosexual or heterosexual, want to file for co-habitation benefits without formally getting married. There are myriad benefits to doing this as opposed to staying single, but just as with divorce, there are some very complex laws for what happens when the relationship has run its course.

Benefits of Domestic Partnership

Domestic partnership laws are not too different from marriage. People may decide to opt into a domestic partnership to receive the following benefits:

  • both individuals can be added to a child’s birth certificate
  • health, dental, and vision insurance
  • sick and bereavement leave
  • accident and life insurance
  • death benefits
  • parental leave
  • housing rights and tuition reduction (at universities)
  • use of recreational facilities

Custody Rights in a Domestic Partnership

When two people in a domestic partnership decide to separate, child custody can get a little complicated. The court can help you determine:

  • who the child will live with for the majority of the time
  • visitation for the other parent
  • which parent will make major decisions on schooling, medical care, etc.
  • child custody payments

In Arizona, couples in a domestic partnership who have children together whether it be naturally or through adoption, have the same rights as married couples. Both parents can legally put their names on their child’s birth certificate giving them full rights to custody. In a divorce or separation, custody is typically determined by a judge. Most judges find it in the child’s best interest to grant both parents 50/50 custody.

If only one of you is the legal parent:

If the second parent isn’t a legal parent, or legally on the child’s birth certificate, it is difficult to get any rights to parenting the child. Courts do sometimes recognize the second parent’s efforts in raising the child but it is difficult to legally have a say in the child’s custody and upbringing after a domestic partnership ends.

These legal processes can be complicated, if you have further questions about your custody rights, contact us here.