Health at SMU

Domestic Partner Benefits

Southern Methodist University extends all benefits to a same-sex domestic partner of an SMU employee that are available to the spouse of an SMU employee.  However, the IRS does not allow a tax exemption for employer benefits available to domestic partners.


You and your domestic partner must meet the following criteria:

  • You are not married to anyone else and have not been within the last twelve months;
  • You are of the same gender;
  • You are at least eighteen years of age and mentally competent to consent to a contract;
  • You are not related by adoption, blood or marriage to a degree of closeness that would prohibit legal marriage in the state of residence;
  • You currently reside with each other in the same principal residence and have done so for the last six months and intend to do so indefinitely; and
  • You are jointly responsible for your common welfare by demonstration of financial interdependence.

Children of a Domestic Partner

Your domestic partner's child(ren) must meet the criteria for dependent child for the specific benefit plan in which you wish to enroll the child(ren), or for any other University service or policy.

To be recognized as qualified domestic partners, you both must sign a Statement of Domestic Partnership and submit it, along with supporting documentation, to the Department of Human Resources, Attn: Benefits Representative.

Supporting Documentation

You must agree to maintain documentation that demonstrates this joint responsibility by the existence of at least 2 of the following requirements:

  • Joint ownership of real estate or joint lease
  • Joint ownership of an automobile
  • Joint bank account and/or other financial instruments
  • Designation by either as the primary beneficiary in the other's will
  • Designation by either as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement contract having a death benefit
  • Other documentation acceptable to SMU evidencing financial interdependence

Dissolution of Domestic Partnership

If you or your domestic partner end your relationship, or your relationship no longer meets the requirements established in the Statement of Domestic Partnership, you must complete and submit a Notice of Dissolution of Domestic Partnership within 31 days of the dissolution of the relationship.  Dissolution of a domestic partnership constitutes a Life Change Event and entitles a former domestic partner and his/her dependent children to continue Medical and Dental coverage, if enrolled, under COBRA.

If you terminate a domestic partnership you must wait a minimum of twelve months from the date of Notice of Dissolution of Domestic Partnership to register and sign a new Statement of Domestic Partnership.

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