Legal Issues Involved in Domestic Partnerships
Social norms have changed substantially over the last several years. It is not at all uncommon for parties to live together, to acquire assets, and to have children, all without being married. As with marriages, when domestic partnerships break up, there are a number of issues to be resolved.
Although Oregon does not recognize common law marriages, unmarried people who live together may have either a “common law” domestic partnership or, in the case of same sex couples, a statutory domestic partnership.
Common Law Domestic Partnerships
In a common law domestic partnership, neither party may be awarded spousal support. The assets of the parties are divided consistent with their intent, whether that intent is evidenced in writing, or is implied by the parties’ conduct. As an example, if the parties own a home in joint names, that property will likely be divided between the parties. If the home is held in one party’s name, but the other party made substantial contributions to the home, such as paying mortgage payments or improving the home, that may imply an intent to share in the home’s value. Property division in common law domestic partnership cases is very fact specific. We will work with you to understand the facts of your case and to provide a range of possible results.
Domestic Partnerships With Children
Except under very narrow circumstances, neither party may be awarded attorney fees in a common law domestic partnership dissolution proceeding.
Same Sex Domestic Partnerships
The other kind of domestic partnership under Oregon law was created by the legislature in 2007. It applies only to same sex couples. If the parties have registered as domestic partners under these new laws, and later decide to end their relationship, all of the laws that apply to divorce apply to the dissolution of the domestic partnership.
At Zimmer, Bond, Fay & Overlund, we value the diversity of relationships that people of all walks of life enter into. No matter what your situation, we will work with you to achieve a fair result in your case.