Call the Beverly Hills domestic partnership attorneys Farbood Majd & Associates if you are looking for help with your domestic partnership matters and/or same sex marriage. We do offer a free consultation so you can see if we are the right fit for you.
Overview of Domestic Partnership
Before the United States Supreme Court decision in June 2015 in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the state of California gave same-sex couples considerably more rights than most of the other states did. These rights that were granted through domestic partnership laws had been in California law books since 2000. Registering for a domestic partnership gave same-sex couples some of the same rights as a married couple, but it didn’t give them all of the same rights.
In 2005, state rights for same-sex couples increased through the California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act (also known as A.B. 205). This Act allowed for recognition of same-sex domestic partnerships from other legal decisions and judgements, making such relationships more like a “traditional” marriage. Prior to A.B. 205, couples who were registered as domestic partners in California were given the following rights:
- Ability to see their partner in the hospital;
- Ability to make medical decisions for their partner if they are unable to;
- Ability to receive some of their partner’s property if they were to die without a will left behind;
- Ability to use sick leave from work to care for their sick partner or their child;
- Ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit if their partner dies due to another’s negligent acts;
- Ability if they are forced to relocate due to their partner’s job; and
- Ability to use the same adopting procedures as a stepparent would use in order to officially adopt their partner’s child
After A.B. 205 was passed, the following additional rights and changes were added into domestic partnerships:
- Financial responsibility for each other while they are still together and, if the relationship ends, it will be treated in the same manner as when a married couple divorces. If one partner gets a loan, both partners end up responsible for that loan. A breakup between those in a domestic partnership is treated as a divorce in the financial sense and one partner may need to pay alimony to the other.
- The community property system that is in place in California also applied to domestic partnerships once A.B. 205 was passed. This means that if the couple decided to break up, the shared property of both would be divided equally instead of equitably.
- Partners would now be treated as spouses for workers’ compensation or public assistance.
- Partners wouldn’t be required to offer testimony against each other in court.
- Partners have access to senior citizen housing, student housing or family housing.
- Partners are entitled to rent control protections.
- Partners who give birth after having registered for a domestic partnership would be seen as both partners being the child’s parents; if the two end their relationship, a judge decides custody and visitation rights.
After A.B. 205, are there still differences between marriage and domestic partnerships?
Even though A.B. 205 greatly expanded the rights available in domestic partnership, there are still differences between a domestic partnership and marriage, including some of the following points:
- Same-sex partners still weren’t seen as legally married and couldn’t have a marriage ceremony;
- Same-sex couples couldn’t file joint income tax returns;
- California state employees in a domestic partnership were not given the same long-term care benefit packages as others; and
- Same-sex partners were not entitled to Social Security or other benefits provided to the public by the Federal government.
More Information on Domestic Partnerships
The Supreme Court ruling in 2015 didn’t change the domestic partnership sections in the California Family Code. Instead, a domestic partnership is different from a marriage license in California. The office of the California Secretary of State still continues to process applications for domestic partnerships while county governments in California now also process marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
If both partners are over the age of 18 or have the permission of their parents if they are minors and the couple also meets all of the other requirements, then they can register for a domestic partnership with the Secretary of State in California. Under California state law, domestic partners must be registered into the California statewide registry to have the rights allowed for them under state law.
Some additional requirements that must be filled in order to register for a domestic partnership registration include:
- The partners in question are not married;
- The partners live together;
- The partners are not blood relatives;
- Both partners are able to consent; and
- Both partners are the same gender.
The human resources department of one’s workplace must be made aware of the domestic partnership to allow the employer to decide how it will affect employee benefits. This benefits that will be allowed can include up to 12 weeks leave under the California Family Rights Act, use of paid and sick leave in order to care for a domestic partner, health insurance coverage options, and ability to receive unemployment if one domestic partner moves for employment reasons.
How to Terminate a Domestic Partnership in Beverly Hills
If the partners in a registered domestic partnership want to terminate it, Form NP/SF DP-2 must be filed with the California Secretary of State. In select cases, a domestic partnership can only be terminated through a Superior Court dissolution proceeding.
For partners who have a registered domestic partnership in addition to being married, they must file a petition through California Superior Court in order to dissolve both.
If you are trying to terminate your domestic partnership, it would be in your best interest to make sure to contact a Beverly Hills domestic partnership attorney who knows all about the state and federal laws that impact your domestic partnership.
To qualify for a dissolution of a domestic partnership, then the following points must be true:
- Both parties want to terminate the partnership;
- The domestic partnership has not been registered for more than five years by the time the Notice of Termination is filed;
- Neither partner cannot own land or buildings;
- Neither partner is not renting any land or buildings other than their primary residence;
- The partners must not owe more than $6,000 in debts from the time they started their domestic partnership;
- Partners have less than $40,000 in property worth, excluding any cars owned, that was acquired during the domestic partnership;
- Both partners must agree that they will not look for financial support from each other;
- Partners must have a signed agreement that will divide property and debts or a signed agreement that says there are no property of debts to be divided between the two;
- Neither partner is currently pregnant; and
- The partners do not have any children together, whether these children were born or adopted prior to or during the domestic partnership.
Call Farbod Majd & Associates Today
An experienced Beverly Hills attorney can explain all of your rights and obligations under a domestic partnership agreement. Any domestic partnership agreements must be carefully drafted in order to fully list and protect the rights and obligations of both partners in this partnership.
Beverly Hills Domestic Partnership Attorney