What Happens to the Community Property When My California Domestic Partnership Ends?
In California, a domestic partnership is when two adults choose to share in each other’s life through a committed, intimate relationship based on “mutual caring.” This legal definition can apply to same-sex couples or opposite-sex couples (if at least one person in the opposite sex couple is over 62 years old). Domestic partners are required to file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State by California law.
California is a community property state, which means they follow the community property system for determining how they will distribute a couple’s assets when a marriage or domestic partnership ends. Community property refers to any property that the couple owns together. Property that is owned by one partner individually is “separate property.” Any assets acquired during a marriage or domestic partnership will be considered community property by the state of California except for property specifically considered or designated as separate property. Certain types of assets are considered the separate property of an individual partner: assets acquired before marriage, assets acquired by one partner through inheritance or gift, assets one partner purchases using separate money, or profits, rents, etc. received through “separate property.”
The character of an asset (separate or community) can be altered through an agreement between the two parties before or during the partnership.
California community property laws apply to both domestic partners and married couples. If you are in a domestic partnership in California, and your relationship is ending, California community property laws will apply. Each partner is also entitled to retain all of their separate property by California law. If you are in a California domestic partnership and your partner passes away, you are entitled to their half of the community property unless they left a will that makes other arrangements for their estate.
If you are planning to file for a California domestic partnership or if you are considering dissolving your domestic partnership, please get in touch with one of the experienced California family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today. We can help you understand potential complications based on California’s community property laws and the legal implications of a California domestic partnership.
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