Individuals in a committed same-sex relationship in Oregon have the option to register as domestic partners. This legal status brings various protections, rights and responsibilities.
Before a couple decides to enter into or dissolve such a partnership, it is helpful to understand how this bond affects property rights.
Joint ownership of property
Registered domestic partners who own a property together can have tenancy by the entirety. The advantage of this arrangement is both partners equally own, manage and control a piece of property. If one partner dies, the property in question automatically transfers to the surviving partner instead of going through probate.
However, this designation can also create complications during a legal separation. If the couple decides to split, the courts are likely to divide the property equally, regardless of each individual’s investment in the property.
No federal tax exemption on property transfers
Transfers or gifts of property may be subject to federal taxes. However, spouses can transfer real estate and give each other gifts without incurring federal taxes.
However, domestic partners in Oregon do not receive the same consideration from the federal government. Partners may need to take other steps to avoid liabilities on gifts and transfers.
Responsibility for debts
Domestic partners are not responsible for each other’s separate debts. This standard applies whether a partner acquired the debt before or after registration as a couple. Additionally, creditors cannot seize a partner’s property to cover the other’s obligations.
On the other hand, domestic partners are equally responsible for family expenses. These costs include necessities, vehicles, medical bills and fees for the children’s education.
Domestic partnerships can have some complications in Oregon because federal and state laws do not align in all circumstances. Couples must review the current statutes to determine how to handle assets and liabilities.