Domestic Partnership Laws in Arizona
As of October 17, 2014, same-sex marriage is legal in the state of Arizona. However, not every couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, have the desire to marry. Domestic partnership can be one option for couples who do not want to marry. Domestic partnerships are much easier to dissolve than marriages, and couples typically are entitled to the same rights as if they were legally married. Only certain cities in Arizona legally recognize domestic partnerships, however.
Cities With Domestic Partnership Laws in Arizona
There are no statewide domestic partnership laws in Arizona, either authorizing or recognizing domestic partnership. Some cities in Arizona, however, do have such laws on the books. Phoenix and Tucson are two cities in which domestic partnership is legal.
Phoenix’s Domestic Partnership Laws
In Phoenix, both same-sex and opposite sex couples may register with the city clerk’s office as domestic partners. They must both meet the following requirements:
- Both must live in Phoenix and share a residence
- Both must be at least 18 years old and competent to enter into a contract
- Neither may be blood related closer than what’s allowed by Arizona’s marriage laws
- Neither may already be in a marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union with another
Tucson’s Domestic Partnership Laws
Tucson’s domestic partnership laws are similar to those of Phoenix. The City of Tucson’s clerk’s office calls this Civil Union Registration. Each person in the couple must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Not be related by blood closer than what’s allowed by Arizona’s marriage laws
- Be competent to enter into a contract
- Not be already married, in a domestic partnership, or civil union with another
- Share a primary residence (does not necessarily need to be in the city of Tucson, however)
- Be in a relationship of mutual support
What Do I Have to Do to Apply for Domestic Partnership in Tucson or Phoenix?
Steps for applying for a domestic partnership are similar in Tucson and Phoenix. Both members of the couple must come into the city clerk’s office to apply in person. Each member of the couple must provide a valid photo ID issued by a US government agency, containing their name, date of birth, height, weight, eye color, and hair color.
The couple must also pay for the application for domestic partnership. As of 2021, the fee for domestic partnership application in both Phoenix and Tucson is $50.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Domestic Partnerships in Arizona
There are many reasons that both same-sex and opposite-sex couples may wish to register a domestic partnership in Arizona. Some of the primary reasons include:
- Having the right to visitation with a domestic partner in any health care facility in the city of Phoenix or Tucson
- Having the same right to access and use city facilities in Tucson as a civil union partner as spouses typically have
Domestic partners do not, however, share the same legal rights, responsibilities and privileges as spouses in Arizona, as these are city ordinances that cannot address or create rights, privileges or responsibilities. Insurance companies are not required to extend coverage to domestic partners by law. Domestic partners also do not receive any privileges upon the death of their partner. Those couples who are looking for these types of legal rights should consider marriage as an alternative.
If you are trying to decide between entering into a domestic partnership or a marriage with your loved one, contact our Arizona Family Law Firm. We can help to determine the specifics of your situation and advise you on which arrangement would work best for the two of you. If you decide to pursue a domestic partnership, we can draw up documents to protect your legal rights, such as wills, powers of attorney and other important documentation.