We Know the Rules, Regulations and Benefits
We can help you determine eligibility for a certified domestic relationship, steer the process, or assist with a termination, if needed.
Although California legalized same sex marriages in 2013 and same sex marriages are now valid in all 50 states (following the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges), domestic partner relationships still remain. Many of these involve couples who have not married and retain that status under California law. A certified domestic relationship can also be available to heterosexual couples.
For any couple to register as a domestic partnership, the individuals must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a common residence
- Not be married to anyone else or be in a domestic partnership with another person
- Have filed a Declaration of Domestic Relationship
- Consent to the relationship status
- Be of the same sex — or one partner must be at least 62 years old
Benefits Accorded Domestic Partners
Domestic partnerships are granted many of the same benefits as married couples with some notable differences. As a registered domestic partner, you may receive through your partner’s insurance company or employer:
- Medical insurance
- Death benefits
- Illness and bereavement leave
Regarding filing of income taxes, the same rules in California apply as do for married couples relating to filing status (after 2007) and community property, deductions for expenses such as long term health insurance, and medical expenses as itemized deductions.
Domestic partnerships are an animal of state law only and the federal government does not recognize them. Accordingly, you have to file as unmarried on your federal returns. Federal deductions available for married couples do not apply to domestic partnerships.
There are two ways that a domestic partnership may be terminated:
1. Should you be in a domestic partnership relationship where there are children born or adopted during the relationship or in one that lasts more than 5 years, you face common issues that a married couple does when their marriage dissolves, including child custody, support, visitation, maintenance and division of property and debts. In this case, you will need to file a Petition for Dissolution for Termination of Domestic Partnership or for separation if that is what you wish.
2. If your relationship meets the following criteria, you can file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State:
- The relationship lasted less than 5 years
- No children were born or adopted during the relationship
- No one is pregnant
- Neither of you have an interest in real property
- Neither of you is renting land nor a building
- Community obligations do not exceed $5,000 (excluding automobiles)
- Community property value is less than $33,000 (excluding automobiles)
- Neither party wants support from the other
- Both parties have lived in California for six months
If you are still in a registered domestic partnership and have questions regarding your rights under California law, wish to terminate your relationship and are unsure about how to do it, or have issues regarding child custody, visitation, support, maintenance and/or taxes, contact the Kearney Baker Law Offices. Our divorce attorneys have more than 60 years of experience in dealing with the nuances and unique character of California domestic partnership law. No issue is too complex. Call us today to discuss your domestic partnership issues.
The history and politics associated with domestic partnership registration and same-sex marriage in California are complex and ever in flux. Same-sex couples who married during the narrow window of time when such marriages were legal in the state have the option of divorcing just as any married couples do. Although same-sex marriage is not now a legal option in California, domestic partnerships are common. Registered domestic partnerships grant couples the same rights that married couples enjoy, but without the status of marriage. (Opposite sex couples may also register domestic partnerships if one or both are over age 62.)
Domestic partners without married status must dissolve their partnerships through a similar, but differently titled process. Dissolution of a registered domestic partnership will determine the same things that divorcing couples experience in a divorce: property division, debt division and, if applicable, child custody orders.
When Ending A Domestic Partnership, Consult With An Experienced Family Law Attorney
In the words of a booklet on dissolution of domestic partnerships, issued by the California Secretary of State’s Business Programs Division Notary Public & Special Filings Section, “You do not have to see an attorney in order to terminate your domestic partnership by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State or prior to filing a petition for dissolution, separation, or nullity with a California Superior Court. However, the process can get complicated and [it] is a good idea to seek legal advice from an attorney who knows family law before you decide to proceed with filings.”
Serving Area Communities Including San Gabriel · Division of Property And Assets · Lawyers Offer Advice And Representation
Kearney | Baker is a full-service family law firm in Pasadena offering clients the benefit of our extensive experience. We have detailed knowledge of all aspects of family law. We can cut through any confusion and direct you in the most efficient, effective way to terminate your California registered domestic partnership. We can help you understand what is community property, what is separate property and how to emerge from your domestic partnership in as strong a position as you can.
Pasadena Domestic Partnership Dissolution Lawyers Here To Help
When you are ready to put our Pasadena, California, family law attorneys’ knowledge of divorce and domestic partnership dissolution to work for you, please call or email the law firm to schedule your initial consultation.