The law surrounding a domestic partnership varies from state to state. Understanding the terms surrounding it in your state requires some specific research on your part. Our partners at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have put together a brief guide explaining what’s a domestic partnership, and the laws about it in California.
What’s A Domestic Partnership?
To understand a domestic partnership, you need to know about its history. The first registry was enacted in 1999 in California. While a partnership can be used by opposite-sex partners, it was originally meant as an option for same-sex couples who legally could not get married. Because of this, a partnership offers certain benefits that marriage offers and recognizes couples who share a domestic life together. What qualifies as a domestic partnership depends on the state in which you reside. California’s family code defines a domestic partnership as being between “two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.” (1).
There are certain requirements that must be met in order to file for a partnership, also known as a civil union in some states. For a domestic partnership California requires:
- Both parties must be legally single – neither party can be married to someone else or be in another domestic partnership. Any prior marriage or partnership must be dissolved or terminated.
- The parties cannot be blood-related.
- Both parties must be 18 years or older – there is an exception to this rule. If both parties are under 18, they can obtain a court order which allows them to enter into a partnership. This also requires the consent of the legal guardians of the two minors.
- Unequivocal consent between both parties entering into the civil union – both parties have to be of sound mind and judgment to consent to the partnership.
At a certain period in time, a couple had to be over the age of 62, but a new law in 2019 granted the opportunity to all couples to have that opportunity now, including those under 18 if they acquire permission from guardians and the court.
How To File For A Partnership In California
While you can file on your own, it can be very beneficial to file with the help of a domestic partnership California attorney. They can walk you through the paperwork and help you fill out any information that is needed to successfully file. In California, you and your partner must fill out Form DP-1 to be approved for a partnership. The form must be signed by you and your partner, notarized and a fee must be paid to the Secretary of State in California.
Our experienced family law attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastry can work with you to help you file for a domestic partnership. Alternatively, if you are looking to dissolve a partnership, our attorneys can make the process as painless as possible. Get the help you need. We serve San Jose and the surrounding Bay area. We offer free virtual 30 minute consultations so that you can take the next steps towards filing or dissolving a partnership. Set up your consultation here. Learn more about domestic partnerships here.