California Registered Domestic Partnership Lawyers

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What Is a Registered Domestic Partnership?

A registered domestic partnership is a legally binding contract which is entered into by two people who wish to formalize their relationship without going through a marriage ceremony. Registered domestic partnerships are available to straight couples, but more same-sex couples are using the procedure to obtain legal standing for their relationship, since in most states those couples are not allowed to legally marry.

Who Can Register for a Domestic Partnership in California?

If you are in a committed gay or lesbian relationship in California, you can protect yourself and your partner by registering as a domestic partnership. If you are committed in an opposite-sex relationship in California where one partner is 62 years of age or older, you also have the opportunity to register.

How Do I Register a Domestic Partnership With the State of California?

If you and your partner meet the requirements above you may be eligible to register a domestic partnership with the California Secretary of State. You register by doing all of the following:

Why Is It Important to Register as a Domestic Partnership?

It is important to register as domestic partners if you want your relationship to have legal standing. Registration is not the same as marriage, but it will secure for you and your partner many important legal rights and responsibilities. Under California law registration can protect your rights when a family crisis occurs, protect your children, and even allow access to family benefits at work.

How Is California Law Different from Other States?

Many states do not allow same sex domestic partnerships, or confer little benefits to those who do register. However, California passed the "California Registered Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003" which gives registered domestic partners and their families more rights and responsibilities.

Do You Have to Be a California Resident to Register?

No, there is no legal requirement that partners attempting to register be California residents. If you and your partner are eligible you can complete the "Declaration of Domestic Partnership" and have it notarized by a notary in any state. However, the state where you do live may not recognize your union.

How Do You Terminate a Registered Domestic Partnership?

Currently in most circumstances a registered domestic partnership can only be terminated by initiating a dissolution proceeding, similar to divorce, in Superior Court.

Do I Need an Attorney to Register?

While you and your partner probably do not need an attorney to register as domestic partners if you are California residents, you may wish to consult an attorney if you live in another state and wish to register in California. You might also wish to consult with an lawyer experienced with domestic partnerships if you live in California and have questions about what rights and responsibilities this procedure gives the partners. Finally, If you would like to terminate a domestic partnership you will also need to consult a family attorney.

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Last Modified: 05-02-2014 07:52 AM PDT

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