Wisconsin Domestic Partner Benefits: What you need to know

In June 2014, a federal district court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage (Wolf v. Walker, No. 14-cv-64-bbc (W.D. Wis. 6/6/14)). Approximately 550 same-sex couples married following the ruling. However, the court subsequently issued a stay on its order pending appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The legal status of the same-sex marriages will likely remain uncertain until the appeals process is complete.
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The Wisconsin Domestic Partnership Law provides legal recognition of same-sex partnerships in Wisconsin (WI Stat. Sec. 770.01 et seq.).
The Law expressly provides that the legal status of domestic partnership is not substantially similar to that of marriage. The state constitution prohibits any law that gives unmarried individuals legal status that is substantially similar to that of marriage.
Effect of federal law. The recognition of same-sex domestic partnership under state law does not extend to benefits and protections provided to married couples under federal statutes such as the Internal Revenue Code. Any federal tax deductions or benefits that might be made available for a spouse are not available to a domestic partner.
Eligible individuals may register their domestic partnership with the state. Domestic partnerships are registered with the county clerk of the county in which one of the individuals has resided for at least 30 days before submitting an application for the declaration of domestic partnership. Each individual must present satisfactory documentary proof of identification and residence.
To enter into a domestic partnership, the two individuals must:
• Be at least 18 years of age and capable ...

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