Domestic partnership in Nevada is a form of legal union available to both homosexual and heterosexual couples. It offers couples nearly all the same rights and responsibilities granted pursuant to marriage in Nevada. They must simply pay a fee and file a Declaration with the Nevada Secretary of State. Additionally, they can dissolve their union without going through Nevada divorce proceedings.
People in a committed relationship who do not wish to get married or register as domestic partners can get many of the same benefits through a Nevada cohabitation agreement.
But there are still more legal rights granted to spouses than to registered domestic partners or people who live together. Marriage confers certain federal tax advantages not available to domestic partners. And only married couples get surviving spouse rights and social security and federal pension benefits.
Meanwhile, a registered domestic partnership grants certain rights not available to people who live together. The most important of these is the right to inherit from each other in the absence of a will.
The following chart offers a brief summary of the rights available in each form of civil union under state law:
|Marriage||Legal Partners||Cohab. agmt.|
|Inherit w/o will||X||X|
|Sue for wrongful death||X||X*|
|Right not to testify||X||X*|
|Soc. Sec.spousal benefits||X|
|Veteran’s spousal benefits||X|
|Fed. spousal health ins.||X|
|Fed. pension benefits||X|
|*Under NV law||all rights optional|
To help you better understand Nevada’s domestic partnership laws, our Las Vegas family law attorneys discuss the following general information, below:
- 1. Requirements
- 2. How to enter into a partnership
- 3. Ceremony requirements
- 4. Benefits
- 5. Comparison to marriage and cohabitation
- 6. How to end a partnership
You may also wish to see our article on Same-Sex Marriage.
Under Chapter 122A of the Nevada Revised Statutes – the Nevada Domestic Partnership Act – both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples may register if:
- Both people are at least 18 years of age;
- The couple resides together (“common residence”);
- Neither partner is currently married or in a domestic partnership with another person;
- The couple is not closely related by blood; and
- Both partners are legally capable of consenting to the partnership.1
Couples must file a Declaration registration form with the Nevada Secretary of State. Each partner must sign and have the form notarized separately.
There is a registration fee of $50, which includes a black and white certificate. A ceremonial certificate is available for an additional $15.
It is possible to get this process expedited in as little as two hours. There is an additional $100 fee for expedited service.
If a couple is already married or registered in another state, they still must register in the state of Nevada in order for the state to recognize them as domestic partners. (Married people do not need to get married again or register in order to be recognized as a married couple).
If you are already married or registered in another state, the filing fee will be waived upon presentation of your marriage or partnership certificate from the other state.2
No solemnization ceremony is required under NRS 122A in order to enter into a binding and valid domestic partnership in Nevada.
Conversely, there is no requirement that any religion conducts a partnership ceremony. Each religious faith is free to determine whether to offer or allow a ceremony or blessing.3
Nevada law confers numerous rights on domestic partners, whether same-sex or different-sex couples. Some of the most important rights accorded to domestic partners in Nevada are:
- Nevada community property rights;
- The right to financial support from a partner (similar to Nevada alimony);
- The right to inherit from a partner in the absence of a will;
- The right to visit a partner in the hospital;
- Medical decision-making and the authority to receive information about a partner’s medical condition;
- The right to seek money damages for a partner’s wrongful death in Nevada; and
- The right not to testify against a partner in state court.4
Domestic partners in Nevada must continue to file as “single” individuals on their federal tax returns. (However, the amount of reported income may change as a result of each partner owning half of any income earned by the partnership.) More importantly, they are not entitled to receive Social Security or Veteran’s benefits on the death or disability of a partner. They are also not entitled to the same insurance and pension benefits available to people who work for the U.S. government. Employers are not required to provide health care benefits to employees’ domestic partners.
On the plus side, it can be easier and less expensive both to enter into and to dissolve a domestic partnership.
Couples can get many of the same benefits by entering into a cohabitation agreement, a civil contract. In a cohabitation agreement, however, all terms must be individually agreed to and proven in court if there is a dispute. With marriage and domestic partnership, such benefits are automatic.
Your Las Vegas family law attorney can help you determine whether a Nevada marriage, partnership or cohabitation agreement is best for your particular situation.5
Also see our article, 5 differences between domestic partnerships and marriage in Nevada.
There are two ways to accomplish dissolution of an NRS 122A partnership in Nevada:
- File a petition in family court as if it were a divorce, or
- If the couple qualifies, file a Termination of Partnership with the Nevada Secretary of State.
A couple may file a Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State if the partners:
- Have been registered as partners in the Nevada for five (5) years or less;
- Have no minor children or and have executed an agreement for child custody and support;
- Have no community or joint property or have an executed agreement as to the disposition of such property;
- Waive any right to future support or have an executed agreement regarding support; and
- Waive their right to a more comprehensive proceeding pursuant to chapter 125 of the NRS.6
If you are considering formalizing your relationship with your partner in Las Vegas, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Our experienced Las Vegas marriage lawyers can help you determine whether it is better to get married or create a partnership in Nevada.
We can also help if you need a prenuptial agreement or an agreement for dissolution of a partnership in Nevada.
To schedule your free, confidential consultation call us or complete the form on this page.
Also see our related article on how to determine custody of children with unmarried parents.