How Do I Dissolve a Domestic Partnership in California?

Domestic partnerships in California were established in 1999 as an analog to marriage, reserved for gay couples who wished to marry but did not have the right to do so. They gained that right in California in 2013 and it was affirmed in 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage throughout the U.S., but domestic partnerships still remain an option in California.

In fact, domestic partnerships – once reserved just for gay couples – were recently opened up to all couples in California who preferred them over marriage. Although domestic partnerships don’t confer the same rights as marriage does, people continue to choose them over marriage for their own reasons.

There are plenty of differences between domestic partnerships and marriages in California, but one thing is for certain: They both can end. As it turns out, dissolving a domestic partnership and getting a divorce may not be as dissimilar as one might think.

Terminating a Domestic Partnership

If either or both individuals in a domestic partnership wish to dissolve the partnership, they can file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership. This is a process that proceeds not unlike an uncontested divorce, but certain conditions must first be met.

These conditions include the following:

  • Both parties agree to the terms
  • No children are involved
  • Neither party owns real estate
  • Separate and community assets, each, don’t exceed $47,000
  • The partnership lasted fewer than five years

There are other conditions that must be met to terminate a domestic partnership. As long as all conditions are met, you can expect a relatively simple and straightforward process. That said, things might begin to resemble the divorce process if these conditions aren’t met.

For example, child custody and support will need to be determined if a child was born or adopted into the domestic partnership. This is an issue that one can expect to proceed as it might during a divorce. Likewise, any significant assets owned by the community – which might include a home – will need to be divided.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you are thinking about dissolving a domestic partnership in California, you need legal representation to help you protect your rights and property. We at Claery & Hammond, LLP have the legal experience and skills necessary to help you fight for what’s most important to you.

Learn more about how we can help by contacting our firm online!