Ohio Domestic Partnership Laws

A domestic partnership is a legally recognized union for an unmarried couple who lives together. Before the legalization of same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships were a way for same-sex couples to receive much of the same benefits of marriage in states where marriage was only available to opposite-sex couples. Of note, however, is that generally domestic partnerships are available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike, although some states' domestic partnership laws have certain criteria that must be met by opposite-sex couples in order to qualify. In Ohio, domestic partnerships aren't authorized under state law, but they are recognized in certain local jurisdictions.

Ohio Domestic Partnership Laws at a Glance

As previously mentioned, there isn't an Ohio state law that authorizes domestic partnership, but certain local governments allow couples to register as domestic partners. The following chart provides information about the cities and counties that allow couples to register as domestic partners, and links to relevant websites.

Code Section(s) There are no state laws addressing domestic partnerships in Ohio.
Local Governments in Ohio that Provide Couples the Opportunity to Register as Domestic Partners

The following cities and counties in Ohio have domestic partnership registries:

General Qualifications to Register a Domestic Partnership

Although each local government will have its own qualifications for registering a domestic partnership, generally the following conditions must be met:

  • The individuals are over 18 years old;
  • The individuals aren't related in a way that would prevent them from marrying;
  • The individuals aren't already married to or in a similar legal relationship with someone else; and
  • The individuals share a common residence.
Related Statute(s)

Ohio Revised Code Title XXXI

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Protection Outside of Marriage

One alternative option for people who don't want to get married or enter into a domestic partnership is to instead enter into a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement is a legal document where an unmarried couple who is living together can grant each other certain rights that are usually granted to married couples. Cohabitation agreements can address the following matters:

  • Setting out the obligations and rights of each individual;
  • Defining how to treat property acquired throughout the relationship; and
  • Protecting the income and property of the individual cohabitants.

While each state will have its own laws pertaining to cohabitation agreements, usually these types of agreements must be in writing. Also, if an individual wants to ensure that their significant other will inherit property in the event of death, they can always make a will. Similarly, if a person wants to make sure that their significant other can make financial and/or health care decisions in the event of incapacitation, they can draft a durable financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney, respectively.

Ohio Domestic Partnership Laws: Related Resources

For more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links below

Have Questions About Domestic Partnerships in Ohio? Get Legal Help

Although domestic partnerships aren't recognized by the state of Ohio, certain cities and counties in the state provide individuals the opportunity to register as domestic partners. If you're interested in learning more about Ohio domestic partnership laws, it's a good idea to speak with a skilled family law attorney in your area today.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.