New York City residents wishing to establish a domestic partnership must register with the City Clerk's Office. Under New York City law, domestic partnerships may be entered into by "couples that have a close and committed personal relationship." However, New York City domestic partnership regulations do not confer all of the benefits extended to legally married couples, both opposite sex or those married in states or countries allowing same-sex marriages.
New York City Domestic Partnership Requirements
Under city law, both partners must be New York City residents, or at least one half of the couple must be a city employee at the time of registration. Both partners must be a minimum of 18 years old and live together at the same residence. Neither partner may be legally married or registered in a domestic partnership with a third party. Acceptable identification for registration purposes include original birth certificates, driver's licenses, passports, U.S. immigration cards or official education records.
New York City Employee Benefits
By law, New York City employees receive the same availability of benefits whether legally married or registered in a domestic partnership. Among these rights are health benefits, child care and bereavement leave. Surviving domestic partners of New York City police or firefighters killed in the line of duty may continue to receive health insurance coverage.
Domestic partners receive visitation rights in all New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation-operated facilities and visitation rights for city prisons and juvenile detention centers.
Under the city's Housing Maintenance Code and its Building Code, the definition of "family" includes people registered as domestic partners. Domestic partners qualify for New York City Housing Authority addition by the New York City Housing Authority as "existing tenancy as a permanent resident," and may qualify to tenancy succession in buildings falling under the authority of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Domestic partners in New York City are not eligible for state income tax benefits permitted for spouses and cannot take out the equivalent of spousal insurance policies. When one member of the domestic partnership dies, the survivor does not have spousal inheritance rights or life insurance beneficiary rights unless the deceased partner makes such bequests in their last will and testament.