CHAPTER 770
DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
770.001   Declaration of policy.
770.01   Definitions.
770.05   Criteria for forming a domestic partnership.
770.07   Application and declaration.
770.10   Completion and filing of declaration.
770.12   Terminating a domestic partnership.
770.15   Forms.
770.17   Fees to county clerk.
770.18   Records.
770.001 770.001 Declaration of policy. The legislature finds that it is in the interests of the citizens of this state to establish and provide the parameters for a legal status of domestic partnership. The legislature further finds that the legal status of domestic partnership as established in this chapter is not substantially similar to that of marriage. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as inconsistent with or a violation of article XIII, section 13, of the Wisconsin Constitution.
Effective date note NOTE: This section is repealed eff. 4-1-18 by 2017 Wis. Act 59.
770.001 History History: 2009 a. 28; 2017 a. 59.
770.001 Annotation Chapter 770 is constitutional based on the presumption of constitutionality, the plaintiffs' failure to meet the burden of proof, and the evidence reviewed from the drafting and ratification process. The plain language of the amendment prohibits only a status “identical or substantially similar to" marriage, and by implication it does not prohibit what is not identical or substantially similar thereto. There are important statutory distinctions in the way the state treats marriage and domestic partnerships and important differences in the lists of benefits and obligations that inhere in the two types of relationships. Appling v. Walker, 2014 WI 96, 358 Wis. 2d 132, 853 N.W.2d 888, 11-1572.
770.001 Annotation Understanding Domestic Partnerships in Wisconsin. Sweet. Wis. Law. Nov. 2009.
770.01 770.01 Definitions. In this chapter:
770.01(1) (1) “Domestic partner" means an individual who has signed and filed a declaration of domestic partnership in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which he or she resides.
770.01(2) (2) “Domestic partnership" means the legal relationship that is formed between 2 individuals under this chapter.
770.01 History History: 2009 a. 28.
770.05 770.05 Criteria for forming a domestic partnership. Subject to s. 770.07 (1) (a), 2 individuals may form a domestic partnership if they satisfy all of the following criteria:
Effective date note NOTE: This section is shown as amended eff. 4-1-18 by 2017 Wis. Act 59. Prior to 4-1-18 it reads:
Effective date text 770.05Criteria for forming a domestic partnership. Two individuals may form a domestic partnership if they satisfy all of the following criteria:
770.05(1) (1) Each individual is at least 18 years old and capable of consenting to the domestic partnership.
770.05(2) (2) Neither individual is married to, or in a domestic partnership with, another individual.
770.05(3) (3) The 2 individuals share a common residence. Two individuals may share a common residence even if any of the following applies:
770.05(3)(a) (a) Only one of the individuals has legal ownership of the residence.
770.05(3)(b) (b) One or both of the individuals have one or more additional residences not shared with the other individual.
770.05(3)(c) (c) One of the individuals leaves the common residence with the intent to return.
770.05(4) (4) The 2 individuals are not nearer of kin to each other than 2nd cousins, whether of the whole or half blood or by adoption.
770.05(5) (5) The individuals are members of the same sex.
770.05 History History: 2009 a. 28; 2017 a. 59.
770.07 770.07 Application and declaration.
770.07(1) (1)
770.07(1)(a)(a) To form a domestic partnership, individuals must apply on or after the 31st day beginning after July 1, 2009, but no later than April 1, 2018, for a declaration of domestic partnership to the county clerk of the county in which at least one of the individuals has resided for at least 30 days immediately before applying.
Effective date note NOTE: Par. (a) is shown as amended eff. 4-1-18 by 2017 Wis. Act 59. Prior to 4-1-18 it reads:
Effective date text (a) Individuals who wish to form a domestic partnership shall apply on or after the 31st day beginning after July 1, 2009, for a declaration of domestic partnership to the county clerk of the county in which at least one of the individuals has resided for at least 30 days immediately before applying.
770.07(1)(b)1.1. Except as provided in subd. 2., the county clerk may not issue a declaration of domestic partnership until at least 5 days after receiving the application for the declaration of domestic partnership.
770.07(1)(b)2. 2. The county clerk may, at his or her discretion, issue a declaration of domestic partnership less than 5 days after application if the applicant pays an additional fee of not more than $25 to cover any increased processing cost incurred by the county. The county clerk shall pay this fee into the county treasury.
770.07(1)(c) (c) No declaration of domestic partnership may be issued unless the application for it is subscribed to by the parties intending to form the domestic partnership; it contains the social security number of each party who has a social security number; and it is filed with the clerk who issues the declaration of domestic partnership.
770.07(1)(d)1.1. Each party shall present satisfactory, documentary proof of identification and residence and shall swear, or affirm, to the application before the clerk who is to issue the declaration of domestic partnership. In addition to the social security number of each party who has a social security number, the application shall contain such informational items as the state registrar of vital statistics directs. The portion of the application form that is collected for statistical purposes only shall indicate that the address of an applicant may be provided by a county clerk to a law enforcement officer under the conditions specified under s. 770.18 (2).
770.07(1)(d)2. 2. Each applicant shall exhibit to the clerk a certified copy of a birth certificate, and each applicant shall submit a copy of any judgment, certificate of termination of domestic partnership, or death certificate affecting the domestic partnership status. If any applicable birth certificate, death certificate, notice of termination of domestic partnership, or judgment is unobtainable, other satisfactory documentary proof may be presented instead. Whenever the clerk is not satisfied with the documentary proof presented, he or she shall submit the proof, for an opinion as to its sufficiency, to a judge of a court of record in the county of application.
770.07(2) (2) If sub. (1) and s. 770.05 are complied with, the county clerk shall issue a declaration of domestic partnership. With each declaration of domestic partnership the county clerk shall provide information describing the causes and effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and the dangers to a fetus from the mother's use of cocaine or other drugs during pregnancy. After the application for the declaration of domestic partnership is filed, the clerk shall, upon the sworn statement of either of the applicants, correct any erroneous, false, or insufficient statement in the application that comes to the clerk's attention and shall notify the other applicant of the correction, as soon as reasonably possible.
770.07(3) (3) No county clerk may issue a declaration of domestic partnership to individuals who apply after April 1, 2018.
Effective date note NOTE: Sub. (3) is created eff. 4-1-18 by 2017 Wis. Act 59.
770.07 History History: 2009 a. 28; 2015 a. 162; 2017 a. 59.
770.10 770.10 Completion and filing of declaration. In order to form the legal status of domestic partners, the individuals shall, within 30 days after the clerk issues a declaration of domestic partnership under s. 770.07 (2), complete the declaration of domestic partnership, sign the declaration, having their signatures acknowledged before a notary, and submit the declaration to the register of deeds of the county in which they reside. The register of deeds shall record the declaration and forward the original to the state registrar of vital statistics.
770.10 History History: 2009 a. 28; 2015 a. 162.
770.12 770.12 Terminating a domestic partnership.
770.12(1) (1)
770.12(1)(a)(a) A domestic partner may terminate the domestic partnership by filing a completed notice of termination of domestic partnership form with the county clerk who issued the declaration of domestic partnership and paying the fee under s. 770.17. The notice must be signed by one or both domestic partners and notarized.
770.12(1)(b) (b) If the notice under par. (a) is signed by only one of the domestic partners, that individual must also file with the county clerk an affidavit stating either of the following:
770.12(1)(b)1. 1. That the other domestic partner has been served in writing, in the manner provided under s. 801.11, that a notice of termination of domestic partnership is being filed with the county clerk.
770.12(1)(b)2. 2. That the domestic partner seeking termination has been unable to locate the other domestic partner after making reasonable efforts and that notice to the other domestic partner has been made by publication as provided in sub. (2).
770.12(2) (2) If a domestic partner who is seeking to terminate the domestic partnership is unable to find the other domestic partner after making reasonable efforts, the domestic partner seeking termination may provide notice by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the residence most recently shared by the domestic partners is located. The notice need not be published more than one time.
770.12(3) (3) Upon receiving a completed, signed, and notarized notice of termination of domestic partnership, the affidavit under sub. (1) (b) if required, and the fee under s. 770.17, the county clerk shall issue to the domestic partner filing the notice of termination a certificate of termination of domestic partnership. The domestic partner shall submit the certificate of termination of domestic partnership to the register of deeds of the county in which the declaration of domestic partnership is recorded. The register of deeds shall record the certificate and forward the original to the state registrar of vital statistics.
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2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 64 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders effective on or before November 20, 2017. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after November 20, 2017 are designated by NOTES. (Published 11-20-17)