A registered domestic partnership is a legally-binding contract entered into by two people who wish to formalize their relationship without going through a marriage ceremony. Registered domestic partnerships in California are available to some heterosexual couples and to all same-sex couples.
Domestic partnership is an alternative to marriage. In California, any same-sex couple in a committed relationship can choose to register for a domestic partnership if both persons are at least 18 years of age. Persons under the age of 18 in a committed same-sex relationship may also enter into a domestic partnership if they obtain a court order granting permission. In addition, a heterosexual couple may choose to enter a domestic partnership if one partner is at least 62 years of age.
If you and your partner meet the requirements above you may be eligible to register with the California Secretary of State. You can register by doing all of the following:
Registration in a domestic partnership in California now gives the same state rights and responsibilities as marriage. However, domestic partners are not necessarily able to receive the same federal benefits or have their partnership recognized in other states or countries. Some examples of difference in the rights or benefits that may be granted to married couples but not to domestic partnerships include:
It’s important to note that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states in the U.S. after the Supreme Court decided on Obergefell v. Hodges. So for same-sex couples who hope to receive all of the legal security and benefits of marriage, they can decide to marry instead of registering for a domestic partnership.
No, there is no legal requirement that partners attempting to register as domestic partners in California must 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.
Termination of a domestic partnership is now done through the same process as the dissolution of a marriage. You can also file a “Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership” with the Secretary of State. However, if you’re registered domestic partners and legally married, then you can file a petition to end the domestic partnership and the marriage with a local court at the same time.
You may wish to consult with a California family lawyer if you have questions about what rights and responsibilities this procedure gives the partners. If you would like to terminate a California domestic partnership, you will also likely need to consult an attorney.
Last Modified: 08-23-2017 12:12 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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