In the District of Columbia domestic partnership is defined as relationship between two individuals that have registered the partnership (pursuant to § 32-702)

The term domestic partner is defined as being in a committed relationship with an individual who is:

  • Eighteen years or older,
  • Competent to enter into a domestic partnership/contract
  • The only/sole domestic partner of the other
  • Not married
  • In a committed relationship

In order to register a domestic partnership in the District, the domestic partners each will have to declare under oath and affirm the items listed above.

The registration document other than the address of the individuals involved will be open to inspection and considered a public record.


The domestic partner is considered a family member, and thus all health care establishments and hospitals shall and will allow visitation by the domestic partner and a dependent child of the domestic partner as well as:

  • District employees may include domestic partner in their family health insurance coverage.
  • District government employees will allow and grant sick leave to care for domestic partner and also the minor child of either domestic partner.
  • Also paternity and maternity leaves will be granted when needed and as appropriate.
  • Moreover, funeral leave or annual leave will be granted again when needed.
  • Also annual leave or leave without pay may be granted for adopting a child or having the domestic partner adopting a child.


The domestic partnership may be terminated as outlined below.

1) Either partner may terminate by filing a termination statement declaring:

  • That the domestic partnership should be terminated, and
  • If the statement is not signed by both parties, then a termination statement has been served on the other party.

2) Termination due to abandonment, a termination statement has to be filed attesting and affirming that:

  • Domestic partnership should be terminated;
  • The other domestic partner had left the residence for a period of six months before filing of the termination statement or that there has been no contact with the partner for a period six month prior to filing of that statement; and
  • The termination statement has been served on the other partner.

3) Domestic partnership automatically terminates as a matter of law if the partners have married each other.

4) A domestic partnership will terminate upon death of either of the domestic partners.

Termination under the conditions listed under subsection one above will take effect six months after the termination statement filing where as with all other subsections the termination will take effect upon filing.

The domestic partnership union has virtually the same legal consequences as marriage in the District.

The alimony and division of property provisions do equally apply to domestic partnership.

As for parentage laws, which pertains to child custody/support issues, a child born to parents in a domestic partnership is treated equal to that of a child born in wedlock.

The legal requirements for termination of the domestic partnership is less rigorous than marriage.

For more information about forming or dissolution of domestic partnership laws in the District contact our Washington DC Family lawyer/Washington DC Divorce Lawyer.

Categories: Family Law.