Wedding Etiquette Forum

Domestic Partnership for Insurance?

This is merely curiosity, as I am not doing this, but what is the etiquette stance on becoming domestic partners for insurance purposes and then getting married after the fact?  I feel like I keep seeing this and I keep thinking it can't be totally kosher from an etiquette perspective.

Two friends of ours have done it (well, just the domestic partner part so far--they're not married yet), and my HR Director suggested it when I quit my job to relocate so that I didn't have to pay for Cobra (didn't do it, obviously, tempting as it was since Cobra costs a fortune!).  Is it just me or is there something not totally okay with this loophole?
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Re: Domestic Partnership for Insurance?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    See the sticky at the top of this board on this topic?
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    PrettyGirlLostbeetheryashley8918
  • Is that like being common-law? In Canada that would mean that you live together, can file taxes together, and I think can be on each others insurance. Most couples I know were common-law before they got married as they had been living together for quite some time.

    Forgive me if its not the same thing.
  • From a general life standpoint, this is borderline fraud. If you are genuinely in a partnership with the person you're filing with, then it's a little less shady, but typically it's insurance fraud to claim any type of relationship for the sole purpose of collecting insurance benefits when such a relationship doesn't really exist.

    For the purposes of wedding etiquette, it's pretty much frowned upon to get married just to collect insurance, and then try to have a "real wedding" at a later time. If insurance is your (general "you") #1 priority, then get married to get your benefits, but accept the fact that you're married and any event you try to host a later time will be a do-over and not a real wedding, no matter how big your dress or how awesome your cake is.

    For the domestic partnership arrangement you've mentioned, I'm not actually sure how that works with regard to DP vs. married. But, the general rule of thumb, if you're passing yourself off to the government as a married couples, and 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • I see the sticky at the top on PPD's, but I don't believe it mentions domestic partnership.  That was why I asked...since domestic partnership isn't an actual marriage.
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  • Fran1985 Fran1985 Narnia member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    AddieCake said:
    See the sticky at the top of this board on this topic?

    But that's about getting married. Usually, domesic partnership gets you some benefits but not all the benefits of being married. I actually wouldn't view this as an etiquette no I don't think. You aren't redoing a wedding ceremony, you are getting married for the first time.

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    cupcait927luckysnorkelhuskypuppy14lc07
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I have zero issue with listing each other as domestic partners for insurance reasons. Employers can choose to offer DP coverage so if yours does, I don't see any issues with utilizing it. I don't see this as an etiquette issue at all. You're not pretending to get married, or getting married in secret. To be considered DPs you must be living together so I assume then that everyone in your lives would know this information. There's no deception. Just keep in mind that it can be costly to add a DP to your insurance, due to taxation purposes (I work for an insurance broker).
    KayDeeeKeptInStitchesashleyep
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Oh, sorry. I misread.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • Is that like being common-law? In Canada that would mean that you live together, can file taxes together, and I think can be on each others insurance. Most couples I know were common-law before they got married as they had been living together for quite some time.

    Forgive me if its not the same thing.
    I think it's similar but not quite the same, as common-law is more similar to marriage.  There is common-law in the US too.  Domestic partnerships were originally an alternative for gay couples that could not legally be married.
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  • What people legally do with their insurance isn't my business. In this case, their wedding will still be their one and only wedding, so from an etiquette standpoint, I don't really care. They aren't misrepresenting their marital status socially or legally.
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    cupcait927
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited August 2014
    Some companies allow you to declare a domestic partner without being married. A domestic partner in this case is not legally binding. My sister's company allows her to select any adult living in her household as her domestic partner - it can be a parent, roommate, lover, sibling or any other human adult in her household. 

    If it doesn't include getting a legally binding certificate from the government then I don't think what your healthcare paperwork says is any of my business. HIPPA and all that...

    I do take issue with people getting married legally for insurance and calling it "just paperwork and we're going to get married for real later." That's public record.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    chibiyui
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited August 2014
    I don't care what people do for insurance, as long as they do not pretend not to be legally married when they are or to be legally married when they're not.  If they're doing that, then I don't care what their motivation is for doing it, whether it's to claim insurance or other benefits of being married while pretending not to be, or for other reasons.  It's still wrong.
  • My company allows people to add a DP to their insurance. They just have to prove they've lived together for a certain amount of time, have kids, and/or some other qualifier.

    This isn't marriage, so I have no problem with it. If someone gets married in order to obtain benefits, pretends they aren't married and then has a fake wedding later one... yea, that's an etiquette no-no.
    *********************************************************************************

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  • Some companies allow you to declare a domestic partner without being married. A domestic partner in this case is not legally binding. My sister's company allows her to select any adult living in her household as her domestic partner - it can be a parent, roommate, lover, sibling or any other human adult in her household. 

    If it doesn't include getting a legally binding certificate from the government then I don't think what your healthcare paperwork says is any of my business. HIPPA and all that...

    I do take issue with people getting married legally for insurance and calling it "just paperwork and we're going to get married for real later." That's public record.
    So what I'm talking about actually does involve government paperwork--it's not just telling your job you're a domestic partner, it's going to a courthouse (or wherever, not totally sure of the details) and signing paperwork that binds you as a domestic partner.  That's what I think borders on inappropriate.
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  • DH put me on his insurance when we were living together prior to getting married. 
  • Belle2188 said:
    Some companies allow you to declare a domestic partner without being married. A domestic partner in this case is not legally binding. My sister's company allows her to select any adult living in her household as her domestic partner - it can be a parent, roommate, lover, sibling or any other human adult in her household. 

    If it doesn't include getting a legally binding certificate from the government then I don't think what your healthcare paperwork says is any of my business. HIPPA and all that...

    I do take issue with people getting married legally for insurance and calling it "just paperwork and we're going to get married for real later." That's public record.
    So what I'm talking about actually does involve government paperwork--it's not just telling your job you're a domestic partner, it's going to a courthouse (or wherever, not totally sure of the details) and signing paperwork that binds you as a domestic partner.  That's what I think borders on inappropriate.
    Are you referring to civil unions then? 
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  • Belle2188 said:
    Some companies allow you to declare a domestic partner without being married. A domestic partner in this case is not legally binding. My sister's company allows her to select any adult living in her household as her domestic partner - it can be a parent, roommate, lover, sibling or any other human adult in her household. 

    If it doesn't include getting a legally binding certificate from the government then I don't think what your healthcare paperwork says is any of my business. HIPPA and all that...

    I do take issue with people getting married legally for insurance and calling it "just paperwork and we're going to get married for real later." That's public record.
    So what I'm talking about actually does involve government paperwork--it's not just telling your job you're a domestic partner, it's going to a courthouse (or wherever, not totally sure of the details) and signing paperwork that binds you as a domestic partner.  That's what I think borders on inappropriate.
    Are you referring to civil unions then? 
    Nope, definitely domestic partnership.
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  • I looked it to it when FI lost his job, since my employer allows you to add a DP onto your insurance. We just had to certify that we lived together, had a lease/mortgage together, had a bank account together, and that one of us was the beneficiary of the other's will/life insurance policy (which all applied to us). We didn't have to file any paperwork with the courts. Unfortunately, many companies tax you on the the dollar amount of the benefit of adding a DP to your insurance. This was going to cut my paycheck by about $600 a month, so we decided to insurance on our own.

    cupcait927
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited August 2014
    Belle2188 said:
    Belle2188 said:
    Some companies allow you to declare a domestic partner without being married. A domestic partner in this case is not legally binding. My sister's company allows her to select any adult living in her household as her domestic partner - it can be a parent, roommate, lover, sibling or any other human adult in her household. 

    If it doesn't include getting a legally binding certificate from the government then I don't think what your healthcare paperwork says is any of my business. HIPPA and all that...

    I do take issue with people getting married legally for insurance and calling it "just paperwork and we're going to get married for real later." That's public record.
    So what I'm talking about actually does involve government paperwork--it's not just telling your job you're a domestic partner, it's going to a courthouse (or wherever, not totally sure of the details) and signing paperwork that binds you as a domestic partner.  That's what I think borders on inappropriate.
    Are you referring to civil unions then? 
    Nope, definitely domestic partnership.
    If it is legally binding then I would consider a wedding at a later date to be a PPD.
    If you get a DP at the courthouse can you go get a marriage certificate at a later date? I thought DPs were the same as civil unions - but that's probably bc my state does not have them.

    ETA - do you have to get a diverse if your want to end the DP or just go down and fill out some paperwork to dissolve it?
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Maybe it varies by state then.  In NJ, civil unions and domestic partnerships are different.  My BIL was added to his now-W's insurance due to the domestic partnership.  They had to show they were living together, had a joint account, and shared household bills.  It was only available through her company, it was not a universal recognition in NJ.  I was unable to get it for H prior to our marriage as my company did not recognize DPs, just CUs.
  • VulgarGirlVulgarGirl Desert Oasis member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    In our state domestic partnership is something both unmarried straight couples and gay couples can register for. And in our state it gives you one right and one right only. To see each other in the hospital. That's it. Not make medical decisions, not get a tax break, not be seen as next of kin, just able to see each other in the hospital. And it's basically the only right we get in our great state.

    We signed up to be domestic partners ages ago, as a just in case measure. Just like we're both on our deed to the house, or we're beneficiaries on our insurance polices, these don't make us married, they're what you do when you aren't married but are committed to one another.

    As for insurance, I know it varies state to state and company to company. At FI's old firm, domestic partners weren't covered. Gay, straight, didn't matter, marriage or nothing. At FI's current firm, you can cover anyone you say is your domestic partner. You don't have to register with the state. You just have to say "We live together in a romantic partnership", we had to sign something that had a lot of legal words that boiled down to that. And that was that.

    So no, I don't think domestic partnership (like we have here) is marriage anymore then both being on a lease agreement is marriage.
    jenijoyk
  • Yeah if you're entering something that's legally binding, I see that the same as a marriage ceremony even if it's called something different.

    Having an employer say "your live-in partner is eligible for insurance here too because we're nice people like that" is totally different. 

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  • Sounds like it may vary quite a bit by state, company, circumstance, etc.  I would 100% agree that if you're just signing a paper at work your wedding would not be a PPD.  Still not sure what I think about the rest, but I guess there's no reason I have to form an opinion either way.

    I think you can get a marriage license at a later date if you are in a domestic partnership, but I also think you would need to terminate the DP in order to get married to someone else.
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  • VulgarGirlVulgarGirl Desert Oasis member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I want to clarify in my state domestic partnership does not ever have to be dissolved and is not legally binding. It's just saying "I want this person to be allowed to see me in the hospital". I also have a POA that says FI gets to make decisions about my medical treatment if I am unable to do so. Those are basically the same things to me.

    I'm very...hesitant, to say domestic partnership is marriage because for many many years the anti-gay folk have been ranting and raving about how we can have domestic partnerships or civil unions and those will be "good enough". Not marriage. We can't have marriage, that's special. But a DP or CU will be good enough. It's not. And I don't want them to be equated at the same thing. Marriage is marriage. If it happens in a church, in a court house, on the rings of Saturn, marriage is marriage.
    Viczaesarbeetherytammym1001ashleyep
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer

    Not every locations/employers offers a DP status.  Just as not all locations offer common-law status.  DH and I lived together for 5 years before getting married. We had joint bank accounts and everything for most of that.  In several US states (not ours though), we actually would have qualified for common-law marriage, since we were practically married, just without a license. We also didn't have availability to DP benefits. Although, our status would have met the requirements of it.  If we had access to it for medical insurance, we probably would have since DH had been laid off from work and went a few years with no insurance coverage.

    As long as you are actually domestic partners (in a relationship, living together, etc.), signing up for DP benefits isn't lying or deceiving the system.  Some people choose to stay together for many years and not actually get married, but really live no differently than married couple. Now, if you are just roommates and not in a long term relationship, then it is deceitful and inappropriate. But, if you meet all the legal requirements for DP benefits, then there shouldn't be anything wrong with using those benefits. It's all just matter of if you are meeting the intent of DP status or not, which is a couple living together in similar fashion as married couple, but just not having actually gotten married (due to choice or legality). And, yes, the laws may have been pushed through for same sex couples, but if you research, DP does include long term opposite sex couples also.  And there's no reason you shouldn't be allowed to change your status and get married at a later date either.

    image 

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    MagicInk said:
    I want to clarify in my state domestic partnership does not ever have to be dissolved and is not legally binding. It's just saying "I want this person to be allowed to see me in the hospital". I also have a POA that says FI gets to make decisions about my medical treatment if I am unable to do so. Those are basically the same things to me.

    I'm very...hesitant, to say domestic partnership is marriage because for many many years the anti-gay folk have been ranting and raving about how we can have domestic partnerships or civil unions and those will be "good enough". Not marriage. We can't have marriage, that's special. But a DP or CU will be good enough. It's not. And I don't want them to be equated at the same thing. Marriage is marriage. If it happens in a church, in a court house, on the rings of Saturn, marriage is marriage.
    Personally, I think they should all be called civil unions when it comes to the legal terminology. Marriage seems to have been assimilated into some sort of religious gig that churches feel hey should have all the say over. I think churches should have the right to grant a civil union to whoever they please, but all consenting adults should be able to enter into a civil union with whatever other consenting adult they choose. Then we can get over all this sanctity of marriage bull.

    I totally get what you are saying @MagicInk. I guess I just feel like if we gave everyone the legal right to have civil unions and called them such legally then marriage would be a sacrament you could opt for or not - It would result a clear separation of church and state 
    ...and in my bird sized brain somehow perhaps would solve all the ridiculous crap about people not being allowed to marry the person they love.

    In my perfect world marriage certificates would not be the legal document, they would be civil unions bc it is complete void of any religious definitions or history in the church. I don't know, I just feel like if we can somehow get the church out of the equation we might be able to get over the intolerance a little quicker. But nobody has made me queen yet, so whatever :-p
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • VulgarGirlVulgarGirl Desert Oasis member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    MagicInk said:
    I want to clarify in my state domestic partnership does not ever have to be dissolved and is not legally binding. It's just saying "I want this person to be allowed to see me in the hospital". I also have a POA that says FI gets to make decisions about my medical treatment if I am unable to do so. Those are basically the same things to me.

    I'm very...hesitant, to say domestic partnership is marriage because for many many years the anti-gay folk have been ranting and raving about how we can have domestic partnerships or civil unions and those will be "good enough". Not marriage. We can't have marriage, that's special. But a DP or CU will be good enough. It's not. And I don't want them to be equated at the same thing. Marriage is marriage. If it happens in a church, in a court house, on the rings of Saturn, marriage is marriage.
    Personally, I think they should all be called civil unions when it comes to the legal terminology. Marriage seems to have been assimilated into some sort of religious gig that churches feel hey should have all the say over. I think churches should have the right to grant a civil union to whoever they please, but all consenting adults should be able to enter into a civil union with whatever other consenting adult they choose. Then we can get over all this sanctity of marriage bull.

    I totally get what you are saying @MagicInk. I guess I just feel like if we gave everyone the legal right to have civil unions and called them such legally then marriage would be a sacrament you could opt for or not - It would result a clear separation of church and state 
    ...and in my bird sized brain somehow perhaps would solve all the ridiculous crap about people not being allowed to marry the person they love.

    In my perfect world marriage certificates would not be the legal document, they would be civil unions bc it is complete void of any religious definitions or history in the church. I don't know, I just feel like if we can somehow get the church out of the equation we might be able to get over the intolerance a little quicker. But nobody has made me queen yet, so whatever :-p
    My only problem with this is that marriage is ingrained in our society, in our language, as meaning to people who have made legal promises, and possibly religious ones, to be together forever and ever until the end of all time. That's what we mean when we say marriage. When you say you're married, that means something. When you say you're civil unioned, that means you took extra crazy pills today. And language is very hard to change.

    I mean, if me and you were at a party and your husband and my wife are there and you say "Oh yes, we were married at the Joy Church" and I say "Oh we were civil unioned at the country club", one of those sounds like a real thing. The other one doesn't. Even though, end of the day, the law would view them as the same. 

    Though I think England separates them...but I think they still just use the word married even if it's in a church or not. 
    ashleyep
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited August 2014
    MagicInk said:
    I want to clarify in my state domestic partnership does not ever have to be dissolved and is not legally binding. It's just saying "I want this person to be allowed to see me in the hospital". I also have a POA that says FI gets to make decisions about my medical treatment if I am unable to do so. Those are basically the same things to me.

    I'm very...hesitant, to say domestic partnership is marriage because for many many years the anti-gay folk have been ranting and raving about how we can have domestic partnerships or civil unions and those will be "good enough". Not marriage. We can't have marriage, that's special. But a DP or CU will be good enough. It's not. And I don't want them to be equated at the same thing. Marriage is marriage. If it happens in a church, in a court house, on the rings of Saturn, marriage is marriage.
    WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE DANG BOX, TK?

    I agree if you got a DP/CU as a consolation prize because you were denied a legal marriage, it's a different story. But if you choose a legally-binding DP for insurance benefits only, it's fraud. If you choose it because it's easier for right now and will deal with a "real wedding" later, you're on the road to a PPD.

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  • delujm0delujm0 member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited August 2014
    I SWEAR THIS STARTED OFF WITH PARAGRAPHS BUT THEY KEEP DISAPPEARING...UUUUUGH ***************** DPs are not the same as marriages. In most of the US, these are determined by employers for the purposes of providing insurance benefits. You do not at any time go to the courthouse and file as a DP. Individual employers set up rules for determining who qualifies as a DP for the purposes of insurance coverage. This was originally set up as a way for individual employers to support their employees who were in homosexual relationships and were unable to be legally married. Many companies have since spread this coverage to any couples that are living together, heterosexual couples as well, because otherwise it would be discriminatory. ******************* I live in NC and a few years ago they actually added an amendment to our state constitution forbidding marriage AND civil unions for homosexual couples, and then said that the only union recognized by the state at all would be legal marriage between a man and a woman (which is completely insane; don't even get me started on that). As a result, many employers here offer DP coverage for benefits. When DH (at the time we were unmarried) became an independent contractor, he was on my insurance under that coverage. My employer had 5 determining factors and you had to prove 3 of them to qualify as a DP...i think technically all 5 applied to us, so we just picked the 3 easiest ones to prove (joint property ownership or lease for at least a year, joint bank account, that you are each other's insurance beneficiary, etc). At that time, his benefits came out of my check after tax instead of before tax, as a spouse would. i think (though am not certain) that tax rules about that have changed and DPs can now come out pre-tax. ******************* My sister and her FI live in NJ and her FI is a teacher. My sister recently finished grad school and doesn't have a full time position yet, so her FI tried to ger her on his insurance as a DP. he was told that the state insurance only honors homosexual DPs. Which seems discriminatory to me, especially since NJ does recognize gay marriage. I'm not sure why that is, and i think it's complete BS, but whatever. They'll be married next year and then she can get on his insurance if she is still job hunting. ********************* This was wordy...the bottom line is that a DP is not legally a marriage. So it doens't mean that you can't have a wedding. The reason a PPD is a PPD is that the couple was legally MARRIED beforehand. I'm not aware of any state where qualifying as a DP also means that you are legally married.
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