Experienced Domestic Partnership Attorney in California
Law Firm Specializing in Domestic Partnership Dissolution Actions filed in the Inland Empire of Southern California
As of January 1, 2020, domestic partnerships are available to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples in California. A domestic partnership in California is a legal relationship considered relatively similar to marriage.
The Evolution of Domestic Partnerships for Same-Sex Couples in California
On June 16, 2008, California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as a result of the Supreme Court of California finding in In re Marriage Cases 43 Cal.4th 757 (2008), that denying same-sex couples to legal right to marry violated California’s Constitution.
The issuance of such licenses was halted from November 5, 2008 until June 27, 2013 (though existing same-sex marriage licenses previously issued and legally issued elsewhere continued to be valid) due to the passage of California Proposition 8—a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage. California Proposition 8 was challenged in federal district court, and later in the United States Supreme Court on various grounds, however. Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court restored the effect of a federal district court ruling overturning California Proposition 8 as unconstitutional (on unrelated, ancillary grounds) in Hollingsworth v. Perry, 570 U.S. 693 (2013), and on June 28, 2013, same-sex marriages were able to resume when the stay of effect was removed from the federal district court decision overturning California Proposition 8.
Prior to June 16, 2008, while the state of California afforded same-sex couples considerably more rights than most other states, the right to marry was not among them. Instead, beginning in 2000, California same-sex couples were provided a poor substitute through domestic partnership laws. Registration for a domestic partnership gave same-sex couples a number of the same rights as married couples– but not all of the rights.
In 2005, California’s domestic partnership laws for same-sex couples were increased when California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act (A.B. 205) came into effect. Prior to A.B. 205, California couples registering as domestic partners were entitled to:
- File a wrongful death lawsuit if the partner dies from the negligent act of another.
- Make medical decisions for the partner should he or she become incapacitated.
- Visit the partner in the hospital.
- Use employee sick leave to provide care for a partner who is ill or for the partner’s child.
- Receive a portion of the partner’s property if the partner dies without a will.
- Receive unemployment benefits if relocation is forced due to a partner’s job.
- Utilize the same adoption procedures in place for stepparents to adopt a partner’s child.
- A.B. 205 provided for recognition of similar same-sex unions in other jurisdictions. Under A.B. 205, domestic partners are now financially responsible for each other, both during the relationship and after it ends, along with the following changes for domestic partners:
- The community property presumption and property division rules applicable to divorce proceedings for California spouses would apply to the dissolution of domestic partnerships.
- Partners would be entitled to request and receive spousal support pursuant to the rules and regulations applicable in divorce proceedings.
- Partners who give birth after registering for a domestic partnership would be treated as parents should the relationship end, a judge would determine custody and visitation rights of the child.
- In court, partners would not be required to offer testimony against the other (marital privilege).
- Partners would have access to senior citizen housing, student housing, and family housing.
- Partners would be entitled to protections for rent control.
- For the purpose of workers’ compensation or public assistance, partners would be treated as spouses.
However, while A.B. 205 expanded rights for domestic partners, there were still differences between partnerships and marriages:
- Same-sex partners were not considered legally married, and were not able to engage in a marriage ceremony.
- Same-sex partners were not entitled to Social Security benefits or other benefits offered to spouses by the Federal government.
- Same-sex couples were also not allowed to file joint income tax returns.
- California state employees were not afforded the same benefits as spouses under long-term care benefits packages.
Current California Domestic Partnership Law – Is There Any Reason to Choose Domestic Partnership Instead of Marriage?
The changes in same-sex marriage laws in California over the years (i.e. In re Marriage Cases, California Proposition 8, and Hollingsworth v. Perry) did not change any of the domestic partnership sections in the California Family Code. It is important to recognize that a domestic partnership is not the same as a marriage in California.
As of January 1, 2020, Senate Bill 30 of 2019 removed the requirement that persons be of the same sex or of the opposite sex and over 62 years of age in order to enter into a domestic partnership, allowing all opposite-sex couples to enter domestic partnerships as an alternative to marriage in California.
Dissolving and Terminating a Domestic Partnership in California
In the event the partners wish to terminate a registered domestic partnership, Form NP/SF DP-2 must be filed with the California Secretary of State. In some cases, a domestic partnership may only be terminated through a Superior Court dissolution proceeding.
Many partners who have a registered domestic partnership and are also married. These parties must file a petition through California Superior Court to dissolve both.
If you are attempting to terminate a domestic partnership, contact a Riverside domestic partnership attorney who is knowledgeable about all the state and federal laws which govern your domestic partnership, so that you receive everything you are entitled to.
Knowledgeable Domestic Partnership Attorney Offering Free Consultations
The choice to seek dissolution of a domestic partnership can be a difficult decision, especially when children are involved. Our firm is dedicated to making the process as painless and straightforward as possible. We evaluate your situation and advise you of all your options under the law, so we can custom tailor an experience you can look back on without regret. Our goal is to help make the decisions that protect your legal rights, and that are in the best interests of your family. We strive to get to know you as a person, as an individual, change is inevitable, but the stress and anxiety you feel about those changes do not have to be.
Domestic partnership law in California is continually changing. The family attorneys at Talkov Law can help you understand the different rights and obligations afforded by California law and advise you on all aspects of dissolution of domestic partnership and same-sex divorce under the present legal system.
If you and your partner decide to go your separate ways, our firm is here to provide compassionate guidance through the legal obstacles ahead. If you have questions for a property division attorney, spousal support attorney, child custody attorney, child support attorney, or adoption attorney, contact us for a free consultation.
Contact Our Experienced California Domestic Partnership Attorneys Now
No matter what stage of the process you are in, you can rely on the experience of our Domestic Partnership attorneys in reaching resolutions in your case. Our Southern California family law firm fights hard to make the legal system work for our clients. Our attorneys have litigated domestic partnership cases throughout the State of California, including Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. Call the experienced family law attorneys at Talkov Law at (951) 888-3300 or contact us online for a free consultation about your case. Learn how our experienced Domestic Partnership attorney, Colleen Sparks, can guide you through the court process in a prompt and clear manner.