What Are Domestic Partners?
The St. Petersburg City Code defines “domestic partners” as two adults who are parties to a domestic partnership relationship and who meet the following requirements for a domestic partnership as established in Chapter 15, Article II:
- Each partner is at least eighteen (18) years old and competent to contract;
- Neither partner 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;
- The partners are not related by blood as defined in Florida law;
- Each partner 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;
- The partners reside in a mutual residence;
- Each partner agrees to immediately notify the City Clerk, in writing, if the terms of the registered domestic partnership are no longer applicable or if one of the domestic partners wishes to terminate the domestic partnership; and
- Each partner expressly declares the desire and intent to designate his or her domestic partner as healthcare surrogate, as agent to direct the disposition of his or her body for funeral and burial, and as preneed guardian as defined by Chapter 744, Florida Statutes.
All rights, privileges and benefits extended to domestic partnerships registered pursuant to this Article shall also be extended to domestic partnerships registered pursuant to domestic partnership laws in other jurisdictions to the extent allowed by law. If a conflict occurs between jurisdictions, this Article shall govern in the City.
What Does "Mutual Residence" Mean? What If We Own More than One House?
The City Code defines “mutual residence” (excerpted below) and does not require that the couple only own one house.
Mutual residence means a residence shared by the registered domestic partners. It is not necessary that both partners own the legal right to possess the place of residence. 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?
The St. Petersburg City Council found that a significant number of its citizen establish and maintain important personal, emotional, and economic relationships with persons to whom they are not married. To the extent not superseded or preempted by federal law, state law, or other city code 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 registered 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 forms prescribed by Chapter 765, Florida Statutes, that is properly executed after the date of registration which contain conflicting designations shall control over the designations made by virtue of the domestic partnership registration.
(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 authorization and directions during his or her lifetime that are dated after the date of the domestic partnership 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) Preneed guardian designation. Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights 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 registered domestic partner shall not be denied or otherwise be defeated in serving as the preneed guardian of his or her domestic partner or the partner’s property under the provisions of Chapter 744, Florida Statutes, based solely upon his or her status as the domestic partner of the incapacitated partner, to the extent that the incapacitated partner has not executed a valid preneed guardian designation after the date of the domestic partnership registration.
(f) Participation in Education. To the extent allowed by federal and state law, and in a manner consistent with any applicable court orders, agreements or contracts, a registered domestic partner shall have the same rights as a parent to participate in the education of a dependent of the registered domestic partnership in all educational facilities located within or under the jurisdiction of the City. Any right to participate in the education of a dependent of the registered domestic partnership shall be exercised consistent with applicable policies and procedures of the PinellasCountySchool District.
(g) Correctional Facility Visitation Rights. Any registered domestic partner shall be entitled to visit his or her domestic partner, or other immediate family member of the domestic partner, who is an inmate at a correctional facility located within the City, upon the same terms and conditions under which visitation is afforded to an inmate’s immediately family member as defined by Florida law.
Nothing in this Article shall be interpreted to alter, affect, or contradict city, county, state or federal law. This registry shall not be construed as recognizing or treating a domestic partnership as a marriage nor shall it be construed as creating any third party rights or actions nor shall anything in this Article be construed to impose liability upon a domestic partner for any expenses of his or her domestic partner.
A registered domestic partner may enforce the rights under this Article by filing a private judicial action against a person or entity in any court of competent jurisdiction for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or both, or such other remedy as may be legally available to them.
Where Do We Go to Register?
The St. Petersburg City Clerk is responsible for administering the Registry. The City Clerk’s Office is located in City Hall, 175 Fifth Street North, first floor. On street metered parking is available in front of and in close proximity to City Hall.
You do not need to be a resident of the City of St. Petersburg to register. However, the Registry is only applicable to facilities located within St. Petersburg City limits.
When Can We Come To Register?
The Domestic Partnership Registry Ordinance was adopted on June 7, 2012. Registration will begin Wednesday, August 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and thereafter Monday through Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 727-893-7448; if the line is busy, please leave your name and phone number and we will return your call. If you cannot get through because the line is busy, please call the City’s main number at 727-893-7111 and ask to be transferred to the City Clerk’s Office.
Do You Have To Register in Person? Why?
Yes, both partners must come to St. Petersburg City Hall, City Clerk’s Office together in person to register. The City’s Domestic Partnership Registry Affidavit requires specific formalities with respect to being witnessed and notarized and the Clerk’s staff is trained to ensure that the Affidavit is completed correctly.
What Is the Cost of Registering?
The initial registration at $30.00. This is payable in cash or a check made payable to the City of St. Petersburg and must be submitted at the time of registration. If your registration needs to be amended in the future, the cost to amend the registration is $10.00. The cost of terminating the Domestic Partnership Registry is $15.00.
What Do I Need to Bring with Me to the Clerk's Office to Register?
- Your partner
- Photo identification (Driver’s license or other State issued ID, passport or military ID.)
- $30.00 in cash or check made payable to the City of St. Petersburg
Do We Need to Complete the Domestic Partnership Registry Affidavit Before Coming to the City Clerk's Office?
No, we have provided the sample form on the City Clerk’s Domestic Partnership Registry page for your information and review, but it should not be signed until you and your partner come to the City Clerk’s Office in person.
What Happens If My Domestic Partner and I Break Up or Our Partnership Ends?
Either party to a registered domestic partnership may terminate such partnership by filing a notarized affidavit of Termination of Domestic Partnership, with payment of the required $15.00 fee, with the City Clerk. Upon payment of the required fee, the City Clerk shall file the affidavit and issue a Certificate of Termination of Domestic Partnership to each partner at the last known address of each partner. The termination shall become effective ten (10) days from the date the certificate of termination is issued.
A registered domestic partnership shall automatically terminate upon notice to the City Clerk of the following events:
- One (or both) of the domestic partners marries under Florida law.
- One of the domestic partners dies (provided however, the provisions relating to funeral and burial decisions shall survive); or
- One of the domestic partners registers with another partner.
The marrying, surviving or re-registering domestic partner(s) shall file an affidavit terminating the domestic partnership relationship within ten (10) days of one of the occurrences listed in this section; however, the failure to file such affidavit shall not affect the automatic termination.
Can I Keep My Registation Information Private?
No, the City of St. Petersburg is a Florida municipal corporation and its business documents are public records under Florida law. There are no exemptions applicable to the Registry Affidavit which will be recorded with the Pinellas County Clerk of Court.
What Proof Will We Receive Showing That We Have Registered?
For your $30.00 registration fee, you will receive a copy of the registration affidavit and a Domestic Partner Certificate. Your registration affidavit will be recorded in the Pinellas County public records.