★ Domestic Partnership Agreements

In recent times much uproar has occurred over the idea of domestic partnership agreements, especially when it comes to homosexual couples. Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held in a 5–4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Regardless of one’s political or moral perspective on the matter the issue of domestic partnerships extends beyond same sex couples.

In the simplest form, a domestic partnership is a contract between two parties on how they will live together. Such agreements are fundamentally the right of all people who are able to contract. The domestic partnership agreement may cover a host of many aspects of life such as how utilities are paid, how money is shared, how property is shared/split, consequences associated with the dissolution of the partnership, how chores are shared along with a whole host of other issues.

The important part of understanding domestic partnership agreements is to ensure that both parties to the agreement are operating from equal footing. What this means is that agreements may be considered void if the terms are unconscionable or if there is a disparity in bargaining power.

Here is how this works. If one partner is an attorney and the other only has a high school diploma then there is clearly a disparity in bargaining power due to the imbalance in education. Similarly, the court will find as unconscionable an agreement that violates public policy. Thus, if an agreement indicates that the parties will share bank accounts provided the other party provides sexual favors a certain number of times such agreement will most likely be stricken as against public policy.

Therefore, to ensure that a domestic partnership agreement is not invalidated you need to make sure to speak to a qualified attorney who knows and understands that various pitfalls associated with domestic partnership agreements. The attorneys at the Justice legal Group have the knowledge and experience to guide you through this process. Contact us today at info@JusticeLegalGroup.com or call us throughout New Mexico at 505-880-8737.

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