Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
We speak English & Mandarin

Guiding You Toward A Better Future

San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Family > Recent Changes to California’s Domestic Partnerships Laws

Recent Changes to California’s Domestic Partnerships Laws


On January 1st, 2020, thousands of California couples were given an alternative to marriage, as reported by ABC 7 News. Up until this recent legislation passed, domestic partnership was reserved for same-sex couples (of all adult ages) and opposite-sex couples over the age of 62. Now, most couples, either LGBT or heterosexual, can become domestic partners, according to the California Secretary of State, except:

  • Blood relatives who are also not legally allowed to marry one another;
  • Anyone under 18 who does not have a court order and parental/guardian permission;
  • Incapacitated individuals;
  • Individuals who are currently married or in a current domestic partnership.

Reasons for Entering Into a Domestic Partnerships

Marriage is not for everyone. That should not prevent couples from living together and receiving many of the legal benefits that marriage provides. Common reasons for entering into a domestic partnership include the following:

  • Avoiding the religious and patriarchal themes surrounding marriage;
  • Not wanting to remarry after a divorce or being widowed;
  • Right to own community property (called marital property in marriages);
  • The ability for one of the partners to adopt the last name of the other partner;
  • The ability for either partner to take on a hyphenated name combining the two names;
  • Legal protections for the surviving partner if the other passes away;
  • Adopting the biological child of the other partner;
  • Legal rights of child raising; and
  • Health insurance benefits.

What a Domestic Partnership Still Lacks

Because the federal government does not recognize domestic partnership the same way that it does marriage, domestic partners:

  • Must file separate federal tax returns even if they file jointly for state taxes;
  • May not be eligible for federal employment benefits;
  • Cannot adopt a non-citizen child, jointly;
  • Cannot sponsor a non-citizen partner for citizenship, as a marriage can; and
  • May not have their California domestic partnership rights recognized in other state.

Terminating a Domestic Partnership

Domestic partnerships can either be terminated by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership Form, or by initiating a dissolution proceeding in Superior Court. The dissolution of a domestic partnership has many of the same characteristics of divorce, including:

  • Property distribution;
  • Domestic partnership division of assets agreement, similar to a prenuptial agreement;
  • Child support;
  • Child custody and visitation; and
  • Spousal support/alimony.

A dissolution of domestic partnership may require the assistance of an experienced family law/divorce attorney, similar to a divorce. A domestic partnership attorney will ensure that community property, including debt, is divided equally; child support is set appropriately and custody and visitation are in the child’s best interests; and that spousal support is provided in the proper amount.

Reach Out to Our San Jose Domestic Partnership Attorneys For Help Today

Whether you are considering entering a domestic partnership or marriage, or if you wish to dissolve the domestic partnership agreement or get a divorce, an attorney can help. Call the San Jose family attorneys at Foster Hsu, LLP for assistance today. To schedule a consultation, do not hesitate to call us at 408-841-7200.





Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2020 - 2024 Foster Hsu, LLP. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are
managed by MileMark Media.