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Domestic Partnerships- Nevada’s Law

Nevada law has recognized domestic partnerships, which contains identical rights of the two partners as two spouses would in a marriage. Like marriage, a domestic partnership is a social contract between two individuals. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 122A.040. Domestic partners are defined as individuals who have registered as a “valid domestic partnership” or have a recognized domestic partnership, and the partnership is not terminated by the partners. NRS § 122A.030. A valid domestic partnership is signed, notarized, and filed with the Secretary of State. NRS § 122A.100(1)(a). Entering a domestic partnership means that the partners have: 1) decided to share each other’s lives, accompanied with mutual caring; and 2) a desire to enter into that partnership by their own free will. Id. There needs to be a payment of a reasonable filing free, as well. NRS § 122A.100(2). To become a domestic partnership, there are requirements that the two potential domestic partners need to show to the Office of the Secretary of State. NRS § 122A.100(2). The following need to be furnished: 1) the partners have a common residence; 2) neither partner is married or in a different domestic partnership; 3) partners are not related; 4) the partners are of the legal majority age of 18; and 5) both partners competently consent to entering into the partnership. Id. A common residence under NRS § 122A.100(2)(a) means that residence is owned by one or both of the partners, or occupied by one or both of the partners. NRS § 122A.100(4).

As mentioned, the spouses and domestic partners are awarded the same rights. NRS § 122A.200(1). This includes when domestic partners are in a similar marital stage as current spouses, former spouses, and widows. NRS § 122A.200(1)(a)–(c). Additionally, the rights of children are awarded to domestic partners in the same fashion as they would for spouses. NRS § 122A.200(1)(d). The rights, protections, obligations and benefits that are awarded to spouses are also domestic partners in the following ways: 1) community property; 2) a mutual responsibility to third parties regarding debts; 3) circumstances where a party wishes the other to pay financial support where the partnership dissolves (akin to a divorce); and 4) other rights that come from the ownership of property. NRS § 122A.200(1)(j). 

Similar to a marriage, and akin to partnerships in business, the NRS prescribes how the partnership may terminate. If a signature and a notarization stating that the partners have decided to terminate the partnership on their own free will is given to the Office of the Secretary of State, the partnership may be terminated. NRS § 122A.300(2)(a). A domestic partnership may also undergo a simplified termination, which allows the partnership to be dissolved in a quicker, easier fashion. NRS § 122A.300(3). The partnership would need to have been registered five years or less. NRS § 122A.300(3)(a). Additionally, there cannot be any minor children both before or during  the partnership, including adoption and if a female partner is knowingly pregnant. NRS § 122A.300(3)(b). If the partners hold property in joint tenancy, or if they share community property, a simplified termination will not occur. 

Domestic partnerships are legal partnerships that are awarded the same rights, obligations, and benefits as spouses. Once an agreement is signed, notarized, and filed with the Secretary of State, a domestic partnership may be established with the mentioned proofs. The partnership may also dissolve in the same manner, and property distribution may be disposed of in a similar manner as a divorce proceeding. Ultimately, a domestic partnership gives individuals another avenue to be legally recognized as a couple.

Thanks to a trial lawyer with our friends at Eglet Adams for their insight on domestic partnership laws in the state of Nevada. If you are facing issues with dissolving your domestic partnership and are headed towards a trial, reach out to a lawyer near you for help.