Domestic Partnership

California offers couples many rights under a registered domestic partnership. A Domestic Partnership grants a couple the same state legal benefits, protections, responsibilities and duties as are granted to and imposed upon spouses. In addition to state rights, local governments may and have extended those rights for couples who register under additional local provisions, such as in the City of San Francisco.

In California a Domestic Partnership can be established by two persons of the same sex or by partners of different sexes if at least one is over the age of sixty two and meets the eligibility for Social Security Benefits. Neither partner may be married or in a domestic partnership with anyone else and they must share a residence.

California does not recognize common law partnership, so co-habitation alone will not grant a couple any legal rights or benefits. To register for a domestic partnership, there is a form to be completed, which requires both partners’ signatures to be notarized. The form will then be submitted to the California Secretary of State.

Some of the benefits a domestic partnership grants upon a couple include:

  • The right to make medical decisions for a partner if he/she becomes incapacitated;
  • The right to hospital visitation if a partner is ill;
  • The right to receive a portion of a partner’s property if he/she dies without a will or other testamentary document;
  • The right to adopt a partner’s child through step-parent adoption procedures; and
  • The right to receive unemployment benefits if required to relocate due to a partner’s job

If you and your domestic partner want to start planning for the future of your joint estate prior to entering a domestic partnership, you should consider executing a Domestic Partnership Agreement, which operates like a prenuptial agreement. The Domestic Partnership Agreement can spell out how the parties will divide their assets in the case their partnership is terminated, as well as maintaining separate property or determining. Davies Wegner Law is uniquely equipped to offer clear legal guidance and creative solutions with estate planning for domestic partners.

A registered domestic partnership can also be terminated. There are two categories for filing for a termination of a domestic partnership. The first is a “summary” termination, which is filed with the Secretary of State. This option is available if certain prerequisites are met, such as the parties do not have children, both parties agree to the summary termination and the partnership has been for less than five years in direction. There are other technical requirements to meet, which an attorney can help you navigate. The second option is similar to a divorce, and is filed with the courts. This option is more common, and required if the parties do not meet the prerequisites for summary termination.

At Davies Wegner Law, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy is something our attorneys feel very passionately about. We will take care of your case in a sensitive and effective manner to help you achieve your goals. We will advise you regarding the benefits, areas of uncertainty, including issues such as taxation, child custody and rights to inheritance or other benefits, and duties of entering into a domestic partnership. You will have unparalleled legal guidance and support until the matter is resolved.

You can call us at 310-481-0300 to schedule a complimentary and confidential consultation up to an hour long to discuss techniques, strategies and tools to assist you in protecting your rights and obtaining your goals.