For many couples, domestic partnerships have emerged as a modern, refreshing alternative to a traditional marriage. Whether you’re a same-sex couple seeking legal recognition or a pair looking to solidify your union without the formality of marriage this article will teach you the basics of domestic partnerships in California.
What is a domestic partnership?
A domestic partnership is a legally recognized relationship between two individuals who have chosen to live together and share their lives without entering into a formal marriage. While the specific rights and benefits associated with domestic partnerships can vary depending on the jurisdiction, they generally provide a legal framework for committed couples to enjoy many of the same privileges and protections that married couples do.
Domestic partnerships are often sought by individuals who want to solidify their relationships without the formalities and expectations that marriage entails, or by same-sex couples in places where marriage equality has not been fully realized.
What are the benefits of a domestic partnership?
Entering into a domestic partnership offers a range of benefits, which can vary based on the specific laws and regulations of your state. While the advantages may differ, here are some common benefits associated with domestic partnerships:
- Legal recognition of your relationship
- The option to share or combine healthcare benefits
- Certain tax advantages and benefits, such as joint tax filing and deductions
- The right to inherit property and assets in the event of your partner’s death
- Legal parental rights and responsibilities, including custody and visitation rights
- Immigration benefits or a pathway to legal residency
- Simplified dissolution in some cases, compared to divorce proceedings
Because the specific benefits and requirements of domestic partnerships can differ significantly depending on where you live, it’s essential to consult with legal professionals in your area to understand the full scope of benefits and responsibilities associated with domestic partnerships.
How to obtain a domestic partnership in California
California has been a trailblazer in recognizing domestic partnerships, offering legal recognition and benefits to couples in various types of committed relationships. In California, you must meet certain eligibility criteria to enter into a domestic partnership. Both individuals must be at least 18 years old and not married or in another domestic partnership. There are no restrictions based on gender.
As long as you and your partner meet the eligibility criteria, you can complete the necessary forms and file them with your county clerk’s office. Once your forms are submitted, they will be reviewed and processed by the county clerk’s office. This may take several weeks, so be prepared for some waiting. Upon approval, you will receive a domestic partnership certificate, which serves as legal proof of your partnership.
Contact LPEP for expert legal assistance
California’s recognition of domestic partnerships demonstrates a commitment to providing legal protections and benefits to a diverse range of couples. However, the specific requirements and procedures may change over time, so it’s crucial to seek legal assistance before you get started.
At Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, we specialize in assisting our clients to obtain domestic partnerships and representing same-sex couples and others who have entered into domestic partnerships. Contact us here or call (408) 553-0801 to schedule your free consultation.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.