Domestic Partnerships

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Domestic Relationship Planning and Dissolution

  • Looking for an attorney? Wessels & Arsenault has an attorney ready to take your case. We handle domestic planning and dispute issues of all types across the front-range area. Call us now for a consultation or to schedule an appointment. You can also ask a question or request information using the form at the bottom of this page.

  • Just Browsing? Our website has lots of useful information. Below you will find an overview of domestic partnership instruments recognized in Colorado and links to other useful information.

The attorneys at Wessels & Arsenault L.L.C. want all persons and families to have their rights protected.  The State of Colorado currently does not recognize at this time and prevents same-sex couples from entering into marriage.  Also, the New York Times and other recent statistics indicate that not all heterosexual couples are entering into marriage and are instead deciding to cohabitate in a domestic partnership.  Although couples aren’t marrying at the same rates that they used to, you and your partner can still be afforded the rights and benefits of marriage by entering into one or more binding contracts.  Are you concerned about the stability of your current  relationship and you have recently invested in one or more expensive purchases?  If so, consider a domestic partnership agreement to protect your rights and interests in the property.  Don’t let yourself get caught off-guard by unforeseen circumstances and consider how you can protect both you and your partner with a prior agreement.

Without an agreement or having marriage rights, you may not be able to make medical decisions on behalf of your domestic partner in the event of a medical emergency.  Consider having one of the lawyers at Wessels & Arsenault draft a living will or power of attorney agreement as an alternative for you and your partner.  Smart decisions and planning for the future can provide certainty and peace of mind that you might not otherwise have.  The lawyers at Wessels & Arsenault can help you quickly and efficiently prepare the documents you need to protect you and your partner’s relationship in the present and for the future.

How our Firm Can Help Protect You and Your Partner:

The documents that our attorneys can prepare to help protect you and your partner’s relationship include:

  • Living Wills
  • Durable health care power of attorney for each partner
  • Durable financial power of attorney for each partner
  • Domestic Partnership agreements
  • Last Will
  • Joint tenancy agreement
  • Name Changes
  • Dissolution Agreements

Living Wills:

Living wills are an advance directive for medical personnel to follow.  A living will is only one of several important documents for medical emergencies and decision making.  In the event of your incapacitation or inability to express your wishes, a living will makes your wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment known to medical professionals.  Living wills are important for persons who fall into a persistent vegetative state, a coma, or have a terminal medical condition.  Living wills are also known as an advance directive, health care directive, or a physician’s directive.  The conditions that trigger a living will only occur in a limited set of circumstances, so it is important to consult an experienced attorney to make sure that all possible medical situations are protected.

For situations where you are incapacitated but not permanently unconscious, it is important to consider a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney document for you and your partner.

Durable Health Care Power of Attorney:

Whereas a living will addresses how medical professionals should proceed in the event a partner is suffering from a terminal illness, coma, or persistent vegetative state, a health care power of attorney allows a chosen individual to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated but are in a situation that does not trigger the conditions of the living will.

Failure to have an established durable health care power of attorney while unmarried can result in others making medical decisions on behalf of your partner that you might disagree with, so we believe it is more advantageous to outline both you and your partner’s wishes in advance.  The attorneys at Wessels & Arsenault, L.L.C. will ensure that your Health Care Power of Attorney is drafted in accordance with the latest Colorado laws and that you and your partner’s wishes are properly expressed within the document.

Protect Yourself and Your PartnerDurable Financial Power of Attorney:

In the event you and your partner are unable to gain access to your finances and other property, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney allows you to appoint another person as your agent on your behalf.  Without a Financial Power of Attorney document, a person must seek a Guardianship in a court of law to gain access to your finances.  In the event of a Guardianship hearing, biological family members have priority of appointment to domestic partners, so it is important to make your wishes known in advance through a secure legal document. The attorneys at Wessels & Arsenault draft the documents that you need to protect both you and your partner’s finances in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Cohabitation/Domestic Partnership Agreements:

Domestic Partnership agreements are important for couples that cohabitate and also own property such as land, a vehicle, pet(s), or a joint bank account.  A Domestic Partnership agreement can be entered into before living together, while living together, or in advance of a separation between the couple.  Outlining the roles and responsibility of each partner helps provide peace of mind as far as monthly responsibilities, current property ownership, future property ownership interests, and more.  Domestic Partnership agreements can also dictate the terms of property dissolution and debts in the event of a relationship ending.  Domestic Partnership agreements provide a safety net, preventing unforeseen problems that might occur.

If you and your partner have children together, then a Domestic Partnership agreement can also help clarify parental rights and responsibilities, parenting time, child support, and more in advance of potential litigation in court.  In the State of Colorado, domestic partners can help explain the relationship of a non-biological parent to a Court using a Domestic Partnership agreement.

Although it is sometimes unthinkable to consider what can happen in the event of a relationship ending, Domestic Partnership agreements are more popular than people think.  Regardless of the domestic situation, a Domestic Partnership agreement can be a valuable way to protect you and your partner’s interests in advance given the uncertain nature of relationships.  Contact the attorneys at Wessels & Arsenault to have our experienced lawyers draft a Domestic Partnership agreement for you and your partner today.

Last Will:

If a partner or loved one dies without a will to state and express their last wishes, then their property is allocated via intestate distribution.  Intestate distribution of property means that the decedent’s property is distributed to heirs based on the default rules set by the State.  Colorado intestate laws do not provide any property interests to domestic partners if a couple is not married.  Thus, it is important to consider drafting a Last Will and Testament for both you and your partner.  A will can establish an executor to oversee distribution of your estate and can provide guidance to the executor as they distribute your property to loved ones in the event of your death.

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship Agreements:

Have you recently purchased or inherited some land or real property such as a house or condominium with your partner?  You might think that you and your partner have a joint tenancy agreement with the right of survivorship.  However, the property arrangement could actually be any number of possibilities based on the documentation and what the Warranty Deed states at closing.

If the partner with the property interest dies, without a will or a Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship Agreement, another party may inherit the property instead of you.  Make sure that you and your partner have entered into the property arrangement you both intended by consulting our experienced attorneys.  Even if the current documents state otherwise, the attorneys at Wessels & Arsenault can help correct the record and ensure that your interests are properly recorded.

Name Changes:

Persons can pursue name changes for any number of reasons.  Having your name changed requires filing a petition at the local Superior Court in the County where you reside and an appearance in Court after a waiting period.  If you wish to adopt the last name of your partner, Wessels & Arsenault can help you efficiently have your name changed by the Court at an affordable cost.

Dissolution Agreements:

When a relationship has come to an end, the parties will need to divide up property and debts.  In the event a domestic partnership agreement has not been made prior to the dissolution of the relationship, the parties can seek a dissolution agreement to spell out the terms of the remaining debts, property, and obligations of the partnerships.  Our lawyers can help you draft a dissolution agreement for a relationship.  Contact our law firm today for more information on dissolving your relationship in a fair and reasonable manner.

Where we practice: We serve clients in family law matters throughout the Denver metro area. A Colorado based firm, we serve most of our clients in the counties of Adams, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver and Douglas, amongst others near the metro area. This includes cities such as Louisville, Broomfield, Arvada, Golden,  Boulder, Longmont, Thornton, Lyons, Aurora, Denver, Littleton, Englewood, Evergreen, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Gunbarrel, Lakewood and other metro cities. While we normally service these areas, depending on the type and complexity of the matter, we have the ability to take cases across the state, especially in areas east of the Divide.

We pride ourselves on the ability to remain flexible and to act quickly; we also are able to generally offer same day or next-day appointments. We make ourselves as available as possible to help keep moving forward on your issues. Because this ability may be hindered somewhat by travel time outside of our normal reaches, we will evaluate your matter from a logistical standpoint and try to arrive at a solution that can work for both of us.

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Wessels & Arsenault, LLC
1333 W. 120th Ave. Suite 219
Westminster, CO 80234