Opposite-sex couples in this state have pretty much had only one route to take when they want to formalize their relationship – marriage. Now, a new law has been passed the changes the way domestic partnerships are handled in California. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we want to bring the new changes in the law to your attention and discuss how they might affect your situation. Our Thousand Oaks family law attorneys are ready to help clients with any situation that arises concerning their marriage or domestic partnership.
What changes have been made to California law?
You have undoubtedly heard the term “domestic partnership.” In California, domestic partnerships have been available only to certain groups of people, particularly same-sex couples or opposite-sex couples over the age of 62. However, as of January 1, 2020, all couples In California will be allowed to apply for domestic partnerships.
Domestic partnerships became legal in 1999 for same-sex couples and were the only legal route to formally recognize their partnerships until California legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. Many advocacy groups have argued that every couple in California should have the right to a domestic partnership.
There are various reasons why couples would want to eschew traditional marriage. Many people wish to avoid the patriarchal or religious connotations associated with marriage. Others may not want to get married again after being divorced or widowed.
What are the benefits of a domestic partnership?
Those who opt for the domestic partnership route, as opposed to marriage, are able to:
- Take their partner’s last name or combine the two individual last names
- Have protections for the surviving domestic partner should the other die
- Have legal rights and obligations related to raising a child born during the domestic partnership
- Adopt a child previously born to the other domestic partner
- Add a domestic partner to state-administered health benefits
- Have the right own community property
What happens when domestic partners want to separate?
If a domestic partnership is less than five years old, there are no children involved, and the couple meets certain financial and property requirements, the domestic partnership can be terminated by filling out a form provided by the Secretary of State. Domestic partnerships that do not meet these requirements will go through the separation process that is very similar to married couples who get divorced.
We are here to help with your case
We understand that marriage and domestic partnership issues become complicated, particularly during the divorce and separation process. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we are here to help if you are going through or are considering going through a divorce or separation. Our family law attorneys thoroughly understand the issues they could arise, including property division, child custody and visitation, child support, alimony, and more. We will work to ensure you are treated fairly throughout this entire process. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling 818-237-4574.