The Domestic Partner Analysis

agreementUniversity of Florida has opened its benefits plan to domestic partners, gay or straight. The application for benefits requires that the two people swear to the following:

1.We are each other’s sole Domestic Partner and intend to remain so indefinitely;

2.We reside together in the same principal residence and intend to reside together indefinitely;

3.We are emotionally committed to one another, share joint responsibilities for our common welfare, and are jointly responsible for each other’s financial obligations as demonstrated by the presentation of two of the following:

– a. joint ownership of real property;
– b. common ownership of an automobile;
– c. joint bank accounts;
– d. a will, retirement plan, or life insurance policy designating the other as primary beneficiary;
– e. a rental agreement showing both parties;
– f. driver’s licenses showing the same address for both parties; or
– g. IRS tax returns showing the same address for both parties
– h. durable property or healthcare power of attorney granted by either party to the other

4.We are each at least 18 years old and mentally competent to consent to a contract:

5.We are not related by blood closer than would bar marriage in the State of Florida;

6.We are not legally married to anyone else and are not involved in any other Domestic Partnership.

7.We have been in a non-platonic relationship for the preceding 12 months.

First off, I’m all for domestic partnership benefits, and I totally understand that any organization granting them wants to avoid situations like a couple of friends or roommates deciding to apply for them just to save money. But, a couple of thoughts…

#1 & #2 – the word indefinite means: “unclear, vague, lacking precise limits, uncertain, undecided.” Although in common speech people often use it to mean “forever” or “a really, really long time,” that isn’t what it means, and this is a legal document.

#3 – I know married couples, especially those where both people work, who couldn’t qualify with two of those, though I do think it’s a reasonable list.

#4 – If someone happens to be mentally incompetent to consent, but consents, how does that affect the contract? Not being a lawyer, I haven’t a clue.

#5 – Though on the face of it completely sensible, it brings to mind a wide array of jokes, many of which are often told about folks in the south…

#6 – Shouldn’t there be some way of phrasing this in the singular for each person?

#7 – Already the butt of internet jokes making the rounds on this one, and selected out for particular taunting by Randy over at This Is True this week. As he pointed out, many married couples swearing to that would be lying. As I pointed out to him in return, the statement doesn’t require them to swear to being in a sexual relationship with each other, nor does it require they be monogamous, merely that they state, in essence, that they’ve been engaged in sexual activity during the preceding year…

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