What is a Domestic Partnership?
A Registered Domestic Partnership is the entity formed by two people who:
- Are each at least 18 years of age and competent to contract;
- Are neither married or partners in a domestic partnership relationship or a member of a civil union with anyone other than the co-applicant;
- Are not related by blood as defined in Florida Law;
- Consider themselves to be a member of the immediate family of the co-applicant and jointly responsible for the maintenance and support of their domestic partnership;
- Reside together in a mutual residence;
- Declares the co-applicant to act as his/her healthcare surrogate and, if determined incompetent, to act as their preneed guardian; and
- Declares the co-applicant as his/her agent to direct the disposition of their body after death;
- Agree to be jointly responsible for each other’s basic food and shelter; and,
- Agree to immediately notify the Clerk’s Office in writing, by filing an Affidavit of Termination, if the terms of the Registered Domestic Partnership are no longer applicable or if one of the domestic partners wishes to terminate the domestic partnership.
What are the Rights and Legal Effect of Registered Domestic Partnership?
The following information summarizes the rights granted under the Pinellas County Domestic Partnership Ordinance.
- Health Care Facility Visitation – All health care facilities operating within the County must honor the Registered Domestic Partnership documentation, issued according to the Pinellas County Code, as proof of the partnership and must allow a registered domestic partner or dependent visitation rights.
- Health Care Decisions – This registration names each partner as a health care surrogate who can make health care decisions for their partner if they are incapacitated. If designated as a health care surrogate, you will not be denied the ability to serve in this role based solely on your status as a domestic partner. If any properly-executed statutory form, such as a living will, contains conflicting terms, the later dated document will be recognized.
- Funeral/Burial Decisions – This registration grants each partner direction over the other’s deceased body for funeral and burial purposes upon their death unless, prior to their death, they create written authorization with conflicting terms. If this conflict exists, the later dated document will be recognized.
- Notification of Family Members – If a situation occurs that requires mandatory notification of family members, such as an emergency, this notification will include registered domestic partners.
- Pre-need Guardian Designation – A partner within a registered domestic partnership will have the same rights as any other individual to be designated as a pre-need guardian if their partner is incapacitated. If registered, and your incapacitated partner has not designated another as their pre-need guardian, you will not be denied the ability to serve in this role based solely on your status as a domestic partner.
- Participation in Education – A domestic partner registered in Pinellas County will have the same rights as the parent partner to participate in the education of a dependent of the Registered Domestic Partnership.
Where and How Do Persons Register Their Domestic Partnership?
Registration is available through the Pinellas County Clerk of the Courts during the office hours provided below, excluding holidays.
- Clearwater Courthouse (Recording Services Department)
315 Court St., Room 150, Clearwater, FL 33756
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- North County Branch Office
29582 U.S. 19 N., Room 101, Clearwater, FL 33761
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- St Petersburg Branch Office
545 First Ave. N., Room 153, St Petersburg, FL 33701
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
To register, both partners must be in person at one of the above locations with proof of identification. The declaration of registered domestic partnership must be signed by both domestic partners under the pains and penalties of perjury, signed by two witnesses and notarized. The Clerk of the Court has set the registration fee at $50.00, which must be paid at the time of registration.
Domestic Partnership forms are available on the Clerk’s website at: www.mypinellasclerk.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will we receive showing that we have registered?
Upon registration with the Clerk, you will be issued a Certificate of Domestic Partnership. This certificate will include the assigned Domestic Partnership Registry number.
Is my Affidavit of Domestic Partnership, or other related documents filed, a public record once filed with the Clerk of Court?
All records received relating to the Domestic Partnership Registry are public records unless otherwise exempted by law. If you believe that you are entitled to an exemption, it is your obligation to request, in writing, the maintenance of this exemption from the Clerk. A form is available from the Clerk upon request or on the Clerk’s website.
Can I amend my registration if a name or address changes after the initial registration Affidavit is filed?
Yes. You can file an Amendment of Domestic Partnership with the Clerk to update your registration to reflect a change in legal address of the Registered Domestic Partners; a legal name change of a domestic partner; or to update the list of dependents of the domestic partnership. A $25 fee must be paid at the time of filing.
What happens if my domestic partner and I break up/our partnership ends?
One or both partners must sign and submit an Affidavit of Termination of Domestic Partnership to the Clerk when the partnership is voluntarily terminated. This form is available online at www.mypinellasclerk.org. Additionally, a domestic partnership will terminate if certain events occur. When this happens, it is still the domestic partner’s obligation to file an Affidavit of Termination with the Clerk within 10 days of the occurrence. The partner filing an Affidavit of Termination must provide a copy of the termination to the former domestic partner at their last known address. There is no fee for to file an Affidavit of Termination.