Dissolution of Domestic Partnerships under California Law

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Domestic partnerships Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmCalifornia law established ‘Domestic Partnerships’ for same sex partners who choose to share their lives in a committed and intimate relationship. It is possible for the partners to sign up for a legal domestic partnership via a Declaration of Domestic Partnership (registered with California Secretary of State).

Once the domestic partners are registered, they can enjoy the same benefits, rights and protections and will be subjected to all those obligations, duties and responsibilities under law which are imposed upon and granted to married couples.


In circumstances that the domestic partners decide to dissolve their relationship, they can file a ‘Petition for Dissolution for Domestic Partnership’ by going to the Superior Court in their county of residence. The partner who is filing for the petition is obligated to provide copies of this petition as well as the other paperwork to his/her partner.

An easy and quick way of getting a dissolution is termed as “summary dissolution”.  In a summary dissolution, there is no need for the domestic partners to visit the court but it is still important for them to consult a lawyer prior to ending the domestic partnership. Also, most domestic partners need to go for a regular divorce and may not get summary dissolution.

Residency and Other Requirements

The residency requirements involved in filing for domestic partnership dissolution are slightly different. When the domestic partners are registered in the state of California, then they are already in agreement with the California courts’ jurisdiction with regards to ending the partnership, even in the circumstances that they shift base or have never resided in California. But if the domestic partnership is registered with another state, a partner can only file for dissolution if at least one partner resides in California. Also, one among the two partners must stay in California for a minimum of 6 months before filing a petition for dissolution.

The domestic partnership will automatically get terminated 6 months post the date of filing the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the state (so long as none of the partners ends up canceling the termination prior to the ending of the 6-month period).

It is possible for either of the two partners to revoke to Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership filing at any point of time before the ending of the official six-month period. The common reasons for cancellation include the following:

  • The partners decided to get back together, or
  • A partner is pregnant or
  • Partners have decided to dissolve the partnership by going to the court

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Same-Sex Couples & Child Custody Issues

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Gay marriage domestic partnership attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmSame sex parents who are headed towards a divorce or separation have the same problems, issues, and concerns as heterosexual parents.  Avoiding a custody battle that can get very complicated not only for the couple but for the children as well is advisable.  A joint decision needs to be reached on matters such as legal custody (decision making for the child), physical custody (who the child lives with), visitation rights (how often the noncustodial parent visits), and child support.

If both of you are legal parents

Same sex couples can be legal parents if –

  • Both jointly adopted the child.
  • The child was born into a marriage or civil union or registered domestic partnership.
  • The non-biological or non-adoptive parent adopts the child.

In a situation where both parents have equal legal rights, child-related issues are handled as it would be for ‘straight’ divorces. A judge would decide the outcome of the issues related to the custody of the child based on a number of factors.

If only one of you is the legal parent

If only one parent is the legal parent then the second parent’s rights, in all probability, will not get enough recognition by the court. The first parent or the legal parent gets the right to decide on most of the issues related to their child or children.

The sole parent has the right and power to curtail visitation rights of the second parent. The legal parent, by default, becomes the legal and physical custodian of the child or children involved. The second parent, in all likelihood, will have to pay child support as demanded by the legal parent.

The second parent can always file for partial custody and more lenient visitation rights. It should always be kept in mind, that where the law does not give equal preference to both the parents, it is always a very good idea to go for mediation and not go through the court system.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

West Hollywood: First city in the U.S. to Adopt Domestic Partnership Ordinance

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Domestic partnerships Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe City of West Hollywood has had its fair share of memorable moments over the past several decades. Not the least of which was becoming the first city in the nation to create a memorable legal landmark by passing a domestic partnership ordinance.

It was 1985 and Ordinance No. 22, adopted on February 21, was a bold action considered to be well ahead of its time largely because it was the only way to offer same-sex couples legal recognition. Today, the domestic partnership program offers committed straight and same-sex couples equal opportunities in the eyes of the law.

1985 was also a banner year for the City of West Hollywood in another way. The City worked long and hard to lobby for change to California state law to include domestic partnerships in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) benefit plans statewide.

Domestic partnerships in California allow two unmarried adults to enter into a legal partnership: a domestic partnership and states that they are one another’s sole partner, completely responsible for the other’s well being. The domestic partnership agreements are not just for couples living in West Hollywood. Anyone may register and many do as they view it as a serious sign of their commitment to one another.

Couples registering as domestic partners have been able to take advantage of the single-minded commitment to equality demonstrated by West Hollywood. Not only did the city give birth to the first domestic partnership registry, pass a resolution in support of marriage equality for straight and same-sex couples inside and outside its city limits, they also expanded their program to give the nod to other partnerships registered in other jurisdictions, and began requiring that franchises, contractors and vendors wanting contracts with the city must provide partnership benefits to their workers.

The California Supreme Court issued a ruling on Proposition 8 that stated barring gay marriages violated the state’s constitution. In June 2008, West Hollywood started issuing marriage licenses and holding civil ceremonies for same-sex couples. In November 2008, issuing marriage license was halted. The question was sent back to the Supreme Court in 2013 in the form of an appeal in Hollingsworth v. Perry. The Court neatly sidestepped the core issue, opening the door for the resumption of same-sex marriages in West Hollywood.

Domestic partnerships have a long and interesting history; a history that gay and straight couples should appreciate when declaring their commitment to one another. Evidently many do appreciate the ability to partake in the benefits of equality in a domestic partnership arrangement, as the 10,000th domestic partnership agreement was registered in West Hollywood in October 2014.

For those wishing more information about domestic partnership agreements in West Hollywood, visit:www.weho.org/domesticpartnerships.

No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.