To establish a domestic partnership, both parties must fit certain criteria and must file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State. Once established, under California law both parties in domestic partnership enjoy similar rights and responsibilities as spouses in a marriage. You may wish to consider a pre-partnership agreement exactly as one might a premarital agreement.
You don't need a lawyer to establish a domestic partnership - but you may need one to protect your rights if your partnership breaks up. Please see our links for divorce, spousal and child support, custody and property division since they all apply to your situation with the same effect that marriage does.
Review all your options and most of all find an attorney who honors your
values and goals and who is sensitive to your experience - whether they
be 'gay' or 'straight'.
In certain cases you need not file any court proceeding to terminate a domestic partnership. These are set forth in California Family Code section 299, as follows:
- The Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership is signed by both registered domestic partners.
- There are no children of the relationship of the parties born before or after registration of the domestic partnership or adopted by the parties after registration of the domestic partnership, and neither of the registered domestic partners, to their knowledge, is pregnant.
- The registered domestic partnership is not more than five years in duration.
- Neither party has any interest in real property wherever situated, with the exception of the lease of a residence occupied by either party which satisfies the following requirements: (A) The lease does not include an option to purchase. (B) The lease terminates within one year from the date of filing of the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
- There are no unpaid obligations in excess of the amount described in paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 2400, as adjusted by subdivision (b) of Section 2400, incurred by either or both of the parties after registration of the domestic partnership, excluding the amount of any unpaid obligation with respect to an automobile.
- The total fair market value of community property assets, excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, including any deferred compensation or retirement plan, is less than the amount described in paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 2400, as adjusted by subdivision (b) of Section 2400, and neither party has separate property assets, excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, in excess of that amount.
- The parties have executed an agreement setting forth the division of assets and the assumption of liabilities of the community property, and have executed any documents, title certificates, bills of sale, or other evidence of transfer necessary to effectuate the agreement.
- The parties waive any rights to support by the other domestic partner.
- The parties have read and understand a brochure prepared by the Secretary of State describing the requirements, nature, and effect of terminating a domestic partnership.
- Both parties desire that the domestic partnership be terminated.
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