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Domestic Partnership Registration

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are Domestic Partners?

What does Mutual Residence Mean? What if we own more than one house?

What is the purpose of the Domestic Partnership Registry?

Where do we go to register as Domestic Partners?


What are Domestic Partners?

Domestic Partners means only two adults who are parties to a domestic partnership and who meet the requisites for a domestic partnership as established pursuant to Section 12-121, City of Tampa Code.

(1) Each person is at least eighteen (18) years old and competent to contract;

(2) Neither person is currently married under Florida law or is a partner in a domestic partnership or a member of civil union with anyone other than the co-applicant;

(3) They are not related by blood as defined in Florida law;

(4) Each person considers himself or herself to be a member of the immediate family of the other partner and to be jointly responsible for maintaining and supporting the registered domestic partnership;

(5) The partners reside together in a mutual residence;

(6) Each person agrees to immediately notify the City Clerk, in writing, if the terms of the Registered Domestic Partnership are no longer applicable or one of the domestic partners wishes to terminate the domestic partnership; and

(7) Each person expressly declares their desire and intent to designate their domestic partner as their healthcare surrogate and as their agent to direct the disposition of their body for funeral and burial.

What does "Mutual Residence" Mean? What if we own more than one house?

Mutual residence means a residence shared by the Registered Domestic Partners; it is not necessary that the legal right to possess the place of residence be in both of their names. Two people may share a mutual residence even if one or both have additional places to live. Registered Domestic Partners do not cease to share a mutual residence if one leaves the shared place but intends to return."

What is the purpose of the Domestic Partnership Registry?

Tampa City Council finds that a significant number of Tampa residents establish and maintain important personal, emotional, and economic relationships with persons to whom they are not married under Florida law. Individuals forming such domestic partnerships often live in a committed family relationship. Domestic partners and their dependents may be denied certain rights for lack of a system that establishes recognition of such partnerships. To the extent not superseded by federal, state, or other city law or ordinance, or contrary to rights conferred by contract or separate legal instrument, Registered Domestic Partners shall have the following rights:

(a) Health Care Facility Visitation. All health care facilities operating within the City shall honor the Registered Domestic Partnership documentation issued pursuant to this code as evidence of the partnership and shall allow a Registered Domestic Partner visitation as provided under federal law. A dependent of a Registered Domestic Partner shall have the same visitation rights as a patient's child.

(b) Health Care Decisions. This section pertains to decisions concerning both physical and mental health. Registry as a domestic partner shall be considered to be written direction by each partner designating the other to make health care decisions for their incapacitated partner, and shall authorize each partner to act as the other's healthcare surrogate as provided in Chapter 765, Florida Statutes, and otherwise as provided by federal law. Further, no person designated as a health care surrogate shall be denied or otherwise defeated in serving as a health care surrogate based solely upon his or her status as the domestic partner of the partner on whose behalf health care decisions are to be made. Any statutory form, including but not limited to, a living will or health care surrogate designation in the form prescribed by Chapter 765, Florida Statutes, that is properly executed after the date of registration which contains conflicting designations shall control over the designations by virtue of the registration.

Designation of Health Care Surrogate. This designation will permit my designee to make health care decisions and to provide, withhold, or withdraw consent on my behalf; or apply for public benefits to defray the cost of health care; and to authorize my admission to or transfer from a health care facility.

(c) Funeral/Burial Decisions. Registry as a domestic partner shall be considered to be written direction by the decedent of his or her intention to have his or her domestic partner direct the disposition of the decedent's body for funeral and burial purposes as provided in Chapter 497, Florida Statutes, unless the decedent provides conflicting, written inter vivos authorization and directions that are dated after the date of the registration, in which case the later dated authorization and directions shall control.

(d) Notification of Family Members. In any situation providing for mandatory or permissible notification of family members, including but not limited to notification of family members in an emergency, "notification of family" shall include registered Domestic Partners.

(e) Pre-need guardian designation. A person who is a party to a registered Domestic Partnership, pursuant to Section 12-221 above, shall have the same right as any other individual to be designated as a preneed guardian pursuant to Chapter 744, Florida Statutes and to serve in such capacity in the event of his or her Domestic Partner's incapacity. A Domestic Partner shall not be denied or otherwise be defeated in serving as the plenary guardian of his or her Domestic Partner or the partner's property under the provisions of Chapter 744, Florida Statutes, to the extent that the incapacitated partner has not executed a valid pre-need guardian designation, based solely upon his or her status as the Domestic Partner of the incapacitated partner.

(f) Participation in Education. To the extent allowed by federal and state law, and in a manner consistent with any applicable court orders or valid agreements or contracts, a registered Domestic Partner shall have the same rights to participate in the education of a dependent of their registered Domestic Partnership as a biological parent to participate in the education of their child, in all educational facilities located within or under the jurisdiction of the City. However, if a biological parent of a minor dependent, whose parental rights have not been terminated, objects to the participation of a non-biological registered Domestic Partner in education conferences or other dissemination of educational information, only the participation of the biological parents shall be allowed."

Where do we go to register as Domestic Partners?

The Office of the City Clerk was responsible for administering the Domestic Partnership Registry from 2012-2015. The Office of the City Clerk no longer accepts new registrations. The Clerk of the Circuit Court now handles the requests.  More information can be found on the Clerk of the Circuit Courts website:  https://www.hillsclerk.com/additional-services/help-and-dpr