Orange County’s Domestic Partner Registry (DPR) went into effect this past Friday, July 6, 2012. Orange County joins the City of Orlando, whose Domestic Partner Registry went into effect last December and Volusia County, whose Domestic Partner Registry went into effect July 1. The registry gives new rights to gay and unmarried couples. The registry is similar to Orlando’s in that it ensures same-sex couples can designate their partner to make life decisions and handle medical arrangements and funeral arrangements. It can also be used by the elderly to designate a friend to make decisions for them, or even traditional heterosexual couples who have decided not to marry.

Orange County has adopted the city of Orlando’s Domestic Partner Registry. As a result, the people who have already registered with Orlando’s DPR are automatically covered and included in Orange County’s DPR.

 There are a few ways you and your partner can register under either Orlando’s or Orange County’s DPR. Here’s how:

 1. If you and your partner want a personal City Hall experience, you may go downtown together to the City Clerk’s Office (2nd floor, City Hall, 400 S. Orange Ave.), fill out the form (affidavit), present your driver’s licenses and provide a check in the amount of $30. The Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm. You can make an appointment or walk in. The city will provide the requisite two witnesses for you, or you may bring your own. The city also notarizes the form on site for you. You will be given a certificate and a wallet card as proof of your partnership before you leave. Your registration will be forwarded to the County Comptroller’s Office of Official Records, where it will be recorded and accessible online 24/7 at the Comptroller’s Official Records website (http://www.occompt.com).

 2. As an alternative, you may download the DPR affidavit through the City of Orlando website (www.cityoforlando.net), or the Orange County website (www. ocfl.net), or the County Comptroller’s website (www.occompt.com). Fill it out (both applicants should initial all 9 of the boxes), and then sign it in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public. You can return that affidavit, along with a check for $18.50, to the Department of Official Records of the Comptroller’s Office one of two ways: via mail, to Official Records, P.O. Box 38, Orlando, FL 32802,or in person, at 109 E. Church Street, Suite 300, Orlando, FL 32801. (Limited parking)Wallet cards will be mailed to you.

 Once registered, your recorded affidavit will be accessible and printable from the Comptroller’s Official Records website (http://or.occompt.com/recorder/web) where you can search for it by entering your name in the “either party box.” You can further narrow the search by selecting “Affidavit” as the document type.

For couples who registered through the City of Orlando prior to Orange County’s adoption of the city’s DPR, you will automatically be absorbed into the “Orlando/Orange County Registry,” and new wallet cards will be mailed to you upon request. Call 407-836-5115 to request your wallet cards.