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General Description
Policy Provisions
Performance Evaluation
Subject Experts
Domestic Partner Policy

Document Number: FacHR--108 Revision #: 1.0
Document Owner: Executive VP Date Last Updated: 07/11/2013
Primary Author: Director of Human Resources Status: Approved
Date Originally Created: 01/18/2012

General Description

Information about domestic partner policy relative to HR policy.


Delineation of policy.



Responsibility: Academic Affairs
VP for Academic Affairs
Human Resources
VP for Academic Affairs

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Relevant Knowledge: In order to comply with this policy you should know:
Current University policy

Terms and Definitions: Additional training

Corrective Action

Loss of privilege, general

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Policy Provisions

Domestic Partner Policy

Cumberland University seeks to promote a university-wide acceptance of diversity in all its dimensions, including sexual orientation.  In light of this goal, certain benefits will be provided to domestic partners as if they were legal spouses of employees.


Effective May 30, 2008, Cumberland University Human Resources Policies were adjusted to reflect coverage of domestic partners under appropriate policies.  Registration of a domestic partnership is not required in order to take advantage of Human Resources Policy provisions, with the exception of benefits, including health, dental, supplemental life/AD&D, and tuition assistance.


1. Definition of Domestic Partner

Domestic partners are persons who:

· Are at least 18 years of age and of the opposite or same gender.

· Are competent to contract at the time the domestic partnership statement is completed.

· Are not legally married to any other person, and not related in a way that would prohibit marriage in any State or Province of the United States.

· Are each other’s sole domestic partner.

· Share permanent residence.


2. In addition, domestic partners must have either one of the following:

· Domestic Partnership Certificate or Registration

· Proof of Commitment Ceremony (printed invitation, announcement, etc)

· Marriage Certificate

· A legal document issued by a governmental body equivalent to a marriage certificate.


3. Or any two of the following:

· Revocable living trust or living trust agreement naming each other

· Durable power of attorney or living will naming each other

· Joint tenancy documents verifying partners have lived together for a period of time

· Joint utility bills

· Designation of each other as beneficiary for life insurance or retirement benefits

· Joint bank account

· Joint legal guardianship of children

· Will, drawn up by an attorney, bequeathing personal belongings to one another

· Joint ownership of a vehicle.


4. Registration of Domestic Partnership

Registration of domestic partnership will be required for coverage under group health, dental, dependent life and tuition benefits.  Employees may register domestic partnerships with the Human Resources Office for health, life and dental benefits coverage.  Additionally, registration is required for coverage under other benefits, such as tuition remission and FMLA.

· An employee who wishes to register a domestic partnership should complete and submit the Statement of Domestic Partnership to Human Resources.  Upon receiving the signed Statement, the Human Resources Department will consider the Partnership registered as of the date the form is received in Human Resources.

· Children of domestic partners are eligible for benefits under the same conditions as the children of employees’ legal spouses.

· Enrollment of domestic partners and eligible dependent children is subject to the same rules as enrollment of other dependents.   See contract guidelines.

· An employee must notify Human Resources in writing of the termination of a domestic partnership within 30 days of its termination in order to protect COBRA rights.  (The same guidelines apply to legally married couples who divorce.)

· Domestic partners and their enrolled dependents will receive the same or equivalent benefits as spouses and their enrolled dependents receive for group continuation of health and dental coverage through COBRA and/or individual conversion of life insurance.

· As noted above, an employee may terminate a domestic partnership by notifying Human Resources in writing of the termination of that domestic partnership within 30 days of its termination.  The employee must then wait 6 months from the date of that notice before registering another domestic partnership, except in either of the following cases.


5. The employee is registering the same domestic partnership within 30 days of notification of the termination of that domestic partnership.


6. The employee’s former domestic partnership was dissolved through the death of the employee’s domestic partner.


7. Tax Consequences of Domestic Partnership

Under the Internal Revenue Code, an employee is not taxed on the value of benefits provided by an employer to an employee’s spouse or dependent.  However, the IRS has ruled that a domestic partner does not qualify as a spouse.  The value of benefits provided to an employee’s domestic partner (and the domestic partner’s eligible children, if any) is considered part of the employee’s taxable income, unless the employee’s domestic partner qualifies as a dependent under Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code.  Cumberland University will treat the value of the benefits provided to an employee’s domestic partner (and the domestic partner’s eligible children, if any) as part of the employee’s income and will withhold the taxes on the value of those benefits from the employee’s paychecks.  If the employee’s domestic partner qualifies as a dependent under Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code, the employee may file the proper documentation with the IRS and seek a refund for taxes withheld.  Any tax consequences of domestic partnership are the responsibility of the employee, not Cumberland University.


8. Legal Consequences of Domestic Partnership

Some courts have recognized non-marriage relationships as the equivalent of marriage for the purpose of establishing and dividing community property.  A declaration of common welfare, such as the registration of Domestic Partnership, may therefore have legal implications.





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Performance Evaluation
Performance Metrics: Compliance with standard policy and procedure

Consequences: Further training
Loss of privileges

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Subject Experts
The following may be consulted for additional information.
VP for Academic Affairs

Director of Human Resources

VP for Academic Affairs

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