What is a Domestic Partner?

Domestic Partners are couples who live together but are not married or Civilly United.  Domestic Partners can be same-gender or heterosexual.

At Middlebury College, a qualifying domestic partnership is defined by the following 8 criteria:

1.    We are responsible for each other’s welfare and intend to remain so indefinitely;

2.    We have resided together continuously for at least six (6) months before the date of this Statement, we are living together now and intend to do so indefinitely;

3.    We are at least eighteen (18) years of age and competent to contract;

4.    Neither of us is married to anyone else;

5.    We are not related to one another by blood closer than would legally bar marriage;

6.    Neither of us has signed a Statement of Domestic Partnership as partner of anyone else during the six (6) months prior to this Statement:

7.    We have at least two (2) of the following:

·         Joint ownership of a motor vehicle

·         Joint checking, savings or investment account

·         Joint ownership of a home

·         A lease for a residence identifying both partners as tenants.

8.    The domestic partner has been designated as a beneficiary for at least two (2) of the following :

·         Middlebury College Core Life Insurance

·         Middlebury College Supplemental Life Insurance

·         Retirement Plan(s) offered


Why should I register my Domestic Partnership with Human Resources?

Employees may register a Domestic Partner with Human Resources if desired.  This is a completely voluntary decision – you are not required to register. 

If you are eligible for Middlebury College Health and Welfare benefits and choose to register your partner, the benefits available to your partner include:

1. Health, Dental and other insurance coverage for your partner and their children.  Employees pay an additional cost to cover any additional eligible family members.  Please refer to the annual Benefits Guide for rate information.  Please note that there are special IRS rules regarding taxation of Domestic Partner benefits.  See the Summary Plan Description for additional information and special enrollment rules.

2. Your Domestic Partner will be entitled to a spouse ID card which provides access to the athletic facilities, borrowing privileges at the libraries, and discounts to sports and performing arts events.

3. If your Domestic Partner becomes ill or has a child, you may be entitled to Family or Medical Leave.

4. If your Domestic Partner’s qualifying family member passes away, you may be eligible for Bereavement Leave.

I read the Summary Plan Description about the tax implications of having my DP on my benefits, but I still don’t understand it. Can you please explain it more clearly?

The Internal Revenue Service requires organizations to tax the fair market value of employer-paid health benefits (medical, dental and vision insurance) provided to non-spousal partners and their children.  In addition, the IRS requires that any contribution that employees make toward the cost of such coverage be made on an after-tax basis.  The states of Vermont and California have similar regulations, except that state taxes do not apply to employees who cover a civil union partner, civil marriage spouse or CA registered domestic partner and his/her children (state taxes do apply to non-CA registered domestic partners and their children).

For example, in 2023 the fair market value of our medical plan is $453.69 per pay period.  This amount will be added to the applicable gross earnings for Federal and state taxes (except as noted above) if you enroll your DP in our medical insurance.  The 2023 fair market value for PPO-dental insurance is $27.18 and enhanced vision insurance is $6.12 per pay period.

Are there any exemptions to the federal and state tax rules?

There are two exceptions to these federal and state tax rules.

First, when both partners are benefits-eligible employees of Middlebury College and/or MIIS there is no tax consequence since each employee would independently be eligible for the non-taxable health benefit. 

Second, an exception applies to any employee who covers a domestic, civil union or civil marriage partner who also qualifies as the employee’s dependent for federal and state income tax purposes – in other words, the employee can claim the partner and children (if any) when filing his/her income taxes. Definition of Tax Dependent.  (Typically employees are not able to claim partners; however, if you believe this exception applies in your situation we recommend that you consult your tax advisor.  Complete the Declaration of Declaration of Tax Dependency and notify Human Resources if you determine that you are able to claim your partner and children (if any) on your taxes:  in that case, your partner’s/spouse’s benefits would not be taxable.)  

May I add my domestic partner to my benefits right away?

If you registered your Domestic Partnership when you first became eligible for benefits at Middlebury College then you can 1) add your DP immediately,  or 2) you may enroll your DP during any open enrollment or 3) you may enroll them mid-year if they have a qualified change in family status.

Your domestic partner (except a domestic partner registered in a jurisdiction that authorizes such domestic partnership, which will follow the same rules as spouses or civil union partners) will not be allowed to enroll for coverage under the Plan unless he or she has been identified as your domestic partner in the records of Human Resources for at least six months and he or she has lost coverage under another benefit plan OR he or she has been identified as your domestic partner in the records of Human Resources for at least six months prior to a new plan year.

How do I register my Domestic Partner?

To register your Domestic Partnership you and your partner sign a statement of domestic partnership.  Please note that the statement must be signed before a Notary Public.  Notary services can be obtained at most town offices – or you can make an appointment with a Notary in the Human Resources Department (call 443-5465 to make an appointment.) 

Please note that CA Registered domestic partners, civil marriage and civil union couples are not required to complete Statement of Domestic Partnership. 

Contact Human Resources immediately if any conditions within the statement of domestic partnership change.

What should I do if my partner and I are no longer together?

You are required to notify Middlebury College immediately upon termination of your domestic partnership. If Middlebury College or any of its insurers or third-party administrators suffer a loss because of lack of timely notification of the domestic partnership they many bring a civil action lawsuit to recover their respective losses, including reasonable attorney’s fees. Domestic Partnership Status Change form. You must also notify your domestic partner of the termination.


If you have any questions about Domestic Partners at Middlebury College, please contact Human Resources at 802-443-5465 or your Benefits Team at 802-443-5485.