Understanding Domestic Partnership Dissolutions in California

Before same-sex marriage was legalized in California and nationwide, many same-sex couples registered as domestic partners. Registered domestic partners have most, but not all, of the rights and responsibilities of married people under California law. These partnerships are subject to the same community property laws as marriages.

As such, domestic partnerships take a similar amount of effort to end. At Viola Law Firm, our experienced family lawyers can assist with the dissolution of domestic partnerships, including division of property, child custody, visitation, child support, and partner support agreements. To discuss your situation with an attorney, please contact our downtown San Mateo firm at 650-532-9389.

Rights Offered by California Domestic Partnerships

People who don’t want to get legally married can choose to get a domestic partnership in California instead. Domestic partners receive many of the same rights as married couples, including:

  • Visitation rights in hospitals
  • Health care decisions if a partner is incapacitated
  • Coverage under partner’s insurance policies
  • Family leave and sick care
  • Joint parental rights and responsibilities
  • Community property rights
  • Inheritance rights

The sole difference between a partnership and marriage in California is federal recognition. Domestic partners receive all the benefits of marriage offered in California. However, the federal government does not recognize these partnerships, so these couples do not receive federal marital benefits.

Domestic Partnership FAQs

To end your domestic partnership, you’ll need to prepare for the process carefully. Keep reading to learn the answers to some of the most common questions we receive regarding domestic partnerships.

Do I have the right to receive financial support from my former domestic partner?

Yes. The court is required to order payment of partner support from or to a domestic partner in the same manner as traditional spousal support. The amount and length of time that one partner receives support from the other is mainly dependent on the length of the partnership and each person’s ability to financially support him or herself.

A court may make temporary or permanent support orders depending on the specific circumstances of the parties. The tax consequences for partner support are different from spousal support. Reach out to our experienced team of partnership lawyers to learn what to expect from the tax differences in your relationship.

Am I entitled to any portion of my partner’s pension?

Many pensions are governed by federal law, under which California’s registered domestic partnership laws do not apply. The extent to which a registered partner can receive a portion of the other partner’s pension depends on the individual plan and the parties’ agreements.

How can I file for divorce from my domestic partner?

There are two main ways to end your domestic partnership. The most common is to file a petition for dissolution, otherwise known as a divorce.

However, if you meet the following criteria, you can file for summary dissolution instead:

  • You’ve been registered for less than five years
  • You don’t have children
  • You don’t own real estate or other real property
  • You meet California’s financial criteria

The specific facts of each case must be reviewed before determining whether to use summary dissolution.

How can I get a domestic partnership annulled?

Annulments in California work the same for marriages and domestic partnerships. Annulments of any kind are rare and only possible if the marriage was invalid for some reason, such as fraud, coercion, or incest. You can contact our lawyers to discuss your situation and learn if you’re eligible for an annulment.

Explore Your Options for Ending Your Domestic Partnership in San Mateo

If you have more questions about ending your partnership, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our San Mateo office. Call us today at 650-532-9389, and we can help. You may also contact us online, and we will respond promptly. From our office in San Mateo, our lawyers represent clients throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.

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