Domestic Partnerships

WHO CAN APPLY:  Applicants must meet the following requirements:

· Both parties must be at least 18 years of age and must be competent (to enter into a legal contract such as a domestic partnership)

· Neither party may be married.

· Neither party can be currently in a legal domestic partnership with another party.

· The parties must share a common residence or intend to return to the common residence in the county of application.

·  The parties cannot be closer in relationship than second cousins.


WHERE TO APPLY:  Wisconsin residents must apply in person at the County Clerk’s Office of the county in which one or both have resided for at least 30 days prior to the date of application. 


HOURS:  Domestic partnership applications are taken in the County Clerk's Office, Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Both applicants must apply in person at the same time.


WAITING PERIOD:  Wisconsin law establishes a 5-day waiting period between application and issuance of a declaration of domestic partnership.  For example, if an application is completed on the 10th, the declaration can be dated and issued on the 15th.  Keep in mind that we do not issue declarations on weekends or holidays, so plan accordingly.  The 5-day waiting period may be waived for good cause by the County Clerk, for an additional fee.  This waiver must be requested no later than 5 FULL days in advance of the domestic partnership application.


DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP DECLARATION FEE:  The declaration fee is $75.00.  If a waiver of the 5-day waiting period is granted, there will be an additional $10.00 fee. These fees are payable, in CASH ONLY, on the day you come to apply for the declaration.  (We do NOT accept checks.)


TRANSLATOR:  If one of the domestic partnership applicants does not understand or speak English, contact the County Clerk’s Office prior to applying for the declaration for further information. 


SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS:  Both applicants must provide their social security numbers if one has been assigned to them.


CERTIFIED COPY OF BIRTH CERTIFICATE:  Certified birth certificates are required for both applicants.  A certified birth certificate must bear the official embossed seal, and a signature of the state registrar, register of deeds, or city health officer.  The seal of a notary public does not suffice for a certified copy of a vital record.  The souvenir birth document given by a hospital is NOT a legal document and will not be accepted.  Be prepared to provide accurate and complete full names of parents.  If an applicant is not a U.S. citizen, a current and valid passport is required.  If the passport has expired, then the applicant will need to apply for an extension.  Also, if the non-U.S. citizen applicant does not have a certified birth certificate, the passport will be sufficient.   Or, if the applicant’s birth certificate is not in English, they are responsible for having it translated into English and notarized by a third party; the applicant cannot translate it them self. NOTE: Applicants should apply for a copy of a birth certificate far in advance of the date of application for the domestic partnership.  Failure to apply in time for a copy of the birth certificate is not a sufficient reason for the County Clerk to waive this requirement.


PHOTO ID & PROOF OF RESIDENCE:  Both applicants must present photo identification and documentation showing a correct address for proof of residency (A valid non-expired driver's license with a current address* for each applicant is the best proof).  If the photo ID does not contain the current address, the applicant must provide 2 proofs of residency, such as a dated utility bill or government correspondence if it is addressed to the applicant (by name) with the applicant’s street address (mail sent to a post office box doesn’t fulfill this requirement). If, on the day you apply for a domestic partnership, you have not resided at your current address for 30 days, be prepared to prove your previous address.  Your "residence", for domestic partnership purposes, is where you have physically lived for the past 30 days. 

*The DMV requires you to update your driver’s license within 10 days of a change of address.



If an applicant was in a prior legal domestic partnership in Wisconsin or if an applicant was previously married, the applicant must provide documentary evidence of how the last legal domestic partnership or marriage ended. If a prior legal domestic partnership was terminated, the termination must have been filed at least 90 days prior to the new application.



Opposite-sex couples may apply for a Domestic Partnership if all other criteria is met.  The Domestic Partnership could only be filed and recorded in the Columbia County Register of Deed's Office.