Dissolution of Domestic Partnerships under California Law
California 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
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