reciprocal benefits - civil unions

Aloha! Hawaii just recognized civil unions for benefit purposes and my question(s) is this: What proof can the employer require of the "legitimacy" of the "union" since there would be no marriage license. In other words, how do we know this is a legitimate partner before covering him/her for benefits? I'm sure there will be administrative rules over the coming weeks to help us negotiate this slippery slope but 1)have you heard anything about the Hawaii guidelines? and 2)how are the 8(?) other states handling? Thank you much!


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  • If there is a civil ceremony, wouldn't there be some kind of certificate? Our insurance carrier allows us to recognize domestic partners if we wish. They require an affidavit that the couple shares a residence, is financially interdependent and is in a long-term relationship. They also require evidence such as a lease in both names or utility bills.
  • I was under the impression that any civil union would result in a certificate of some sort. Otherwise, what's the point of saying a couple could have a legally-recognized civil union if there wasn't some document to prove that the union had occurred?

    When I have employees who get married and add spouses to their insurance, I don't ask for a copy of the marriage license, because that doesn't prove that they went through with the wedding; I've known a number of people who have gotten a license and then haven't actually gotten married for one reason or another. What I do ask for is the certificate provided by the state after the wedding has occurred that tells me that they actually are legally married. I would assume that any civilly-joined couple would have something similar.
  • Swago,

    Welcome to the Forum. So glad to have you with us.


  • Our company elects to cover domestic partners for insurance benefits. Each carrier has a separate affidavit they require the employee and their partner to complete then get notarized. If the employee is unable to meet the terms of each affidavit (time living together, shared expenses, etc) they aren't eligible for domestic partner benefits.
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