Domestic Partnership in Pennsylvania

Domestic Partnership in Pennsylvania: Some couples opt to cohabitate rather than be married, thus they are concerned about Pennsylvania's domestic partnership laws. They may elect to take this path for emotional or psychological reasons as well as financial ones, such as taxes and Social Security benefits.

Although it does recognise domestic partnership contracts established in other states, Pennsylvania does not recognise civil unions or domestic partnerships on a state-by-state basis.

However, unmarried couples might write cohabitation contracts to safeguard their rights and possessions in the case that the domestic partnership does not last.

What is a Domestic Partnership?

Similar to marriage legally speaking is domestic partnership. The same protections and advantages of a traditional marriage are intended to be offered, but without the official ceremony or official legal recognition. However, a lot of people are still unclear about Pennsylvania’s domestic partnership legislation.

Prior to the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling by the Supreme Court in 2015, the majority of domestic partners were in same-sex relationships, particularly if they resided in a state that forbade same-sex marriage.

However, it is still a choice for partners (either same-sex or opposite-sex couples) who live together and lead a joint domestic life in a few states. To qualify for the arrangement, one of the parties must be at least 62 years old in several states and towns.

While a domestic partnership is not the same as marriage, it offers some of the same advantages. In some states, the organisation is known as a “civil union.” However, what constitutes a domestic partnership or civil union differs depending on the location or state.

Does Pennsylvania allow domestic partnerships?

Unmarried couples who are in a domestic partnership are entitled to certain protections and advantages, including access to health insurance and visitation privileges in hospitals. Domestic partnership regulations, however, differ from state to state. In this post, we’ll look into Pennsylvania’s domestic partnership laws.

What Advantages Do Domestic Partnership in Pennsylvania Offer?

Unmarried couples can profit from domestic partnerships in a number of ways, including:

  • Domestic partners have the right to see each other in the hospital and make medical decisions on the other’s behalf.
  • Health insurance: Many employers provide domestic partners with health insurance.
  • Domestic partners have the right to inherit from one another without the need for a will.
  • Co-ownership of real estate: Domestic partners are allowed to jointly own real estate and decide how to use it.

How to sign up?

  • Whether you want to be married should be your first priority.
  • Then, ascertain whether you are qualified to be a domestic partner where you are. Contacting the municipal clerk’s office in your area is a wise first step because domestic partnership regulations vary from state to state.
  • Consider the advantages and disadvantages of domestic partnerships in your area if you decide against legal marriage.
  • Generally speaking, to become domestic partners:
  • Each party is at least 18 years old.
  • Both partners must be single; neither may be married or have a domestic partner.
  • You need to establish a long-term plan and live together.
  • You are not married to or connected to your partner by blood, else the state will prohibit the relationship.
  • The registration process is simple in cities that recognise domestic partnerships. 
  • You should be able to fill out an application at the county or city clerk’s office. Each partner is required to appear in person, along with identification and proof of employment or domicile in the city. 
  • It is necessary to fill out a domestic partnership affidavit in front of a witness, such as the clerk, and pay a registration cost. 
  • The affidavit states that you meet the requirements and specifies how to notify the clerk’s office if your domestic partnership ends.

PA Domestic Partnership Dissolution

In Pennsylvania, unmarried couples who are not in domestic partnerships or who have not signed cohabitation agreements have only limited legal protections for their property and assets. This is so that ownership may be determined by the title of the property. A well-written cohabitation agreement can clearly outline how assets will be divided and how debts will be paid off, as well as handle other concerns like child support and other costs.


Unmarried people who get into relationships are given some legal safeguards through domestic partnerships. Although domestic partnerships are not recognised by Pennsylvania law, unmarried couples can nevertheless engage into one and receive almost identical benefits as opposite sex married couples in several counties.

A domestic partnership agreement is another way for an unmarried same-sex or opposite-sex couple to safeguard their legal rights.

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