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Pros and cons of a domestic partnership in Alaska

Not all couples follow the traditional path of dating, marriage, and raising children. Some couples don't want the religious or societal connotations of marriage, but require certain protections that come with it.

A domestic partnership can offer the best of both worlds. This allows unmarried couples who live together to obtain privileges similar to married couples. Although this term has been closely related to same-sex relationships in the past, it can be right for couples of any gender.

Pro: Insurance possibilities

In many cases, your insurance policy could cover a domestic partner as it would cover a spouse. The policy may also protect your children as well. This can help families access funds for health care and life insurance in times of need.

Not all insurance providers extend these benefits to domestic partners, so you should check limitations on coverage ahead of time.

Pro: Leave of absence from work

When your partner is sick, you may be able to take time off of work to help them. You may also be entitled to bereavement leave if your partner were to pass away. In long-term relationships, being able to step away from work to take care of personal issues can be an indispensable benefit.

While some employers are willing to allow domestic partners to leave work for these reasons, many do not. There is no legal obligation to offer leave for domestic partners in Alaska. Again, you may have to ask your employer if they would provide benefits for you.

Con: No state benefits in Alaska

While individual companies may include domestic partnerships in their benefits, the state of Alaska does not specify legal rights. Alaska leaves this choice to business owners. This means that couples who are considering a domestic partnership should research possible benefits from their current insurance providers and employers.

Con: Difficult property division

Because Alaska doesn't offer particular benefits to domestic partnerships as opposed to marriages, the division of property at the end of the relationship can be complicated. Shared assets and debt should legally be under both partners' names to avoid disputes.

Pro: Sentimental value

Even if you discover that your situation would not give you extra legal, financial, or health benefits, you could still decide that a domestic partnership would be meaningful to you. As with couples who hold marriage sacred, moving forward to establish a domestic partnership could be a major step in your relationship.

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