There are a lot of terms around the world that are legally equivalent to marriage. Domestic partnerships and civil partnerships all refer to the one and the same thing, but how are they different from marriage?
For starters, they don’t have the letter “m” or any religious connotations attached to it. For years, many people have viewed domestic partnership as an alternative to marriage. However, the reality is that this term can be a bit of a headache to understand.
After all, being in a civil union doesn’t mean you’re married, but what are you then? Well, the precise ways in which it’s not marriage can be difficult to explain, and they differ from one country to another.
For example, in the US, you’ll hear people say that there’s little difference between domestic partnership and marriage, but in reality, a civil union has its own laws and issues.
If you happen to come across a couple who’s in a domestic partnership, don’t ask them “Why don’t you guys just get married?” as they may take that as an insult. You never know what their opinion about marriage is.
Marriage is a beautiful thing and many of us strive to find a partner who’s willing to spend the rest of their lives with us, but common-law marriage isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some may prefer coffee over tea and that’s why many countries have introduced this great second option known as a domestic partnership.
What is a domestic partnership?
You can find many legal explanations online as to what a domestic partnership really is. In simple words, it’s a type of relationship status between two people who decide to live together and share an ordinary domestic life.
They chose to occupy the same space and they share their expenses with each other. Men and women who live in this type of arrangement are in a committed relationship. Such couples decide not to follow the social norms of marriage, so they move in together and try to make it work.
They open up their lives to each other, but they’re not bound by law to one another. Perhaps you’ve got a friend who is in a domestic partnership, but even they don’t know how to properly call it.
That’s because they know they’re happy with their partner and don’t care whether or not they’re legally married. They simply want to spend as much time as possible with their significant other and don’t want to get lost in all the legal terms and social constraints.
Marriage vs. domestic partnership
Complex vs. Simple
Some people don’t want to experience all the challenges of trying to plan a wedding. Some men and women may not want to have a ceremony at all. And instead of getting married, they opt for a domestic relationship.
Marriage in itself is a beautiful thing. But it’s tradition to have a wedding ceremony before you decide to live together. And that’s something many people prefer to avoid.
A domestic partnership is different and doesn’t require you to plan anything if you don’t feel like it. You just pack your stuff and move in with your significant other.
At the same time, you get all the legal benefits (in some parts of the world) of marriage. For example, your partner can put your name on their insurance. And you have someone standing on that “immediate family only” thing in case of emergency.
In some countries, domestic partnership is essentially legally identical to marriage, just without the formal title.
Patriarchy vs. Equality
Some couples don’t see marriage as two partners being equal to each other. Maybe they think that marriage has lost its romantic value and they’re not comfortable with that at all.
I’ve had a couple of friends who chose domestic partnership because they believe marriage symbolizes patriarchy rather than equality. Also, they weren’t prepared to spend huge amounts of money on a wedding and they felt that sometimes marriage brings more problems than solutions.
Being in a romantic relationship with someone means that your partner’s wishes and needs are just as important as yours. But when you decide to move in together, that’s when things can become complicated.
Many men still believe that a woman’s job is to be a housewife and take care of the kids. Some might even say that their wife shouldn’t even have to go to work or make money. And even though we as a society have made significant progress regarding equal rights, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
That’s why when talking of domestic partnership vs. marriage, you first need to speak with your partner. What does marriage represent to them? It could get nerve-racking when breaching the topic, but talking to your partner can help you clarify things.
Divorce vs. ending a domestic partnership
The process of terminating a domestic partnership is roughly the same as getting a divorce. You can file together or separately. What you’ll get out of your partnership or marriage depends on where you live and your local laws regarding separation.
Either way, it’s fairly easy to dissolve a partnership if it meets certain requirements. For example, your partnership can’t last more than 5 years and you can’t have kids. Otherwise, your case needs to go to court.
All in all, although domestic partnerships and marriages share some differences, in many ways, they’re also pretty similar.