Domestic Partnership

“A Domestic Partnership is very similar to a marriage. They are available for heterosexual couples 65 or older and same-sex couples of any age. The use of Domestic Partnerships by same-sex couples has largely become obsolete because same-sex marriage is now legal in California and all 50 states.” Jennifer Lawton, Fresno Divorce Lawyer

If you want to end a registered domestic partnership, you must also file for a divorce, legal separation, or annulment to end your relationship. Couples who have a domestic partnership and subsequently marry their partner must take additional steps to get a complete divorce. A divorce from both the marriage and the Domestic Partnership must be filed. Otherwise, the couple will find themselves still Domestic Partners at the end of the process.

In limited circumstances, Domestic Partners can end their relationship in a summary process through the Secretary of State. They are permitted to do so if they have been registered for less than five years, have no children, no real property, very few assets or debts, a written agreement dividing their property, and a few other requirements.

Many of the rights granted to married couples are also granted to Domestic Partners, however, there are distinct differences of which you must be aware. Domestic Partners are not permitted to file joint federal tax returns; only married couples are permitted to do so. Domestic Partnerships are also not recognized in many other states. As such, you may find yourself unable to file for divorce in another state if you move there or even file joint state tax returns. The detriments associated with Domestic Partnerships are large. Couples should marry instead as they are recognized in all 50 states. If you already have a Domestic Partnership, you should terminate it and then get married to take advantage of the many rights and benefits of marriage.