Is a Declaration of Domestic Partnership the same thing as a Cohabitation Agreement?
No. They are two very different agreements.
A Declaration of Domestic Partnership is a document usually filed with the County and is a public record of your relationship. It is an agreement that states that you agreed to share food and shelter during your domestic partnership but otherwise has very little impact on how you organize your relationship and your individual property and your shared property. A Declaration of Domestic Partnership may be required by your employer if you wish to add your partner to your employer's health insurance. In recent times, employers have phased out the ability to add a domestic partnership since marriage is now available for all couples. Please check with your employer FIRST to determine if your employer recognizes and allows coverage of your domestic partner's participation for benefits.
A Cohabitation Agreementis a private agreement between the two of you. It becomes a legally enforceable document regarding your property rights if executed and drafted properly. This is not a public document.
That said, a Declaration of Domestic Partnership and a Cohabitation Agreement are often used as both a public and a private commitment to your shared relationship. But the purposes of the two documents are very different.
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