Domestic partners registries offer a valuable service to unmarried couples. Since domestic partners lack the legal protections of marriage, a domestic partner may be denied the right to visit his or her partner in the hospital and be shut out of any involvement in health care decisions on behalf of a partner who resides in the same household. The City of Tampa’s Domestic Partners Registry permits unmarried couples residing in the same household to enjoy these rights and others upon registration and payment of a $50 filing fee.
Now, domestic partners residing together anywhere in Hillsborough County can enjoy the same protections and rights by registering with the Hillsborough County Domestic Partners Registry. The Domestic Partners Registry, or DPR, is administered by the Hillsborough County Clerk’s office. Registration forms, as well as forms to amend or terminate the domestic partner registration, are available online. Like the City of Tampa’s Domestic Partners Registry, a one-time $50 filing fee is required. Domestic partners can be same sex or opposite sex partners.
The registration form permits domestic partners to appoint each other as Health Care Surrogates to make medical decisions when one partner is incapacitated. It allows visitation rights in the event of hospitalizations or incarceration that requires emergency notification of the domestic partner. This also allows the domestic partner to make funeral and burial decision for a deceased partner.
If one or both partners have dependent children, the other partner can be named as a Pre-Need Guardian for the children and/or be allowed full access to the children’s educational records and participation in any educational decision making for the children. Registration of these rights for domestic partners can ensure continuity of care for the children should one of the partners die or become incapacitated.
Registration as domestic partners addresses the grant of certain rights and responsibilities only within the geographical limits of the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County. Because legal rights are involved, you may want to consult with an experienced attorney before registering as domestic partners.