If you’re not married gay or lesbian same sex couple but are connected to a partner, you may be curious about what rights you have and how best to protect yourself in this relationship.

Unfortunately, not all rights that are given to married couples apply to those partners who are not legally married. The couple has the biggest responsibility to set up their own protections and paperwork so that their relationship can as closely mirror a legal one as possible.

Same-sex marriage is not currently legal in North Carolina, so many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples create legal documents for their own protection and interests. These include domestic partner agreements, wills, trusts, and estate planning. Without an estate plan in place, for example, the partner may struggle after the death of a loved one.

Some common issues covered by a partnership agreement include durable and healthcare powers of attorney, child custody arrangements, property settlement and more.

There are also limited legal rights for a couple dissolving a relationship not under the legal protection of marriage. A domestic partnership agreement will cover information such as responsibilities and entitlements of each party when it comes to finances within the relationship, gift and property transfer tax consequences, and what legal avenue the parties wish to pursue to resolve their differences.

Without a partnership contract, you could face years in court and accrue substantial costs attempting to prove your rights, with no guarantee of the resolution you want. A domestic partnership agreement is a flexible way to outline the information you need in a “living” manner, since the document can be modified with the consent of both parties.

Every family deserves to have their interests represented and protected. Since same-sex partner rights are a relatively new area of the law, it’s very important you work with an attorney to draft a partnership agreement that protects your family and outlines your individual responsibilities and rights as well. Meek Law Firm has the experience and the understanding you need. Contact us today to get the process underway.

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