Pakpour Banks LLP provides legal services to individuals involved in Dissolving Same-Sex Unions.
Same-sex partners in California have had – at one time or another – two different methods with which to legally unify their relationships. The first and oldest method is via Domestic Partnership. The other, short-lived method was by marriage.
Domestic Partnerships: Domestic Partnerships have existed in California since 1999. Under the law today, all same-sex couples, and different-sex couples where at least one party is 62 years of age or older, may legally unify their relationship as a domestic partnership. At least in California, all domestic partners are to receive the same benefits and rights as married individuals.
Same-Sex Marriage: Same-sex marriage was legal in California for about four months in 2008. During that period, approximately 18,000 same-sex couples were married in the state of California. Under the law in California, those marriages are legally recognized. Furthermore, upon passage of the “Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act,” same-sex marriages performed outside the state are recognized as marriages if they were performed before the passage of Proposition 8 on Nov. 5, 2008. Marriages performed out of the state after that date are also recognized, however they cannot be referred to as “Marriages” or “Domestic Partnerships.”
Update: After a June 27, 2013, decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is once again legal in California.
Update: After a June 26, 2015, decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is now legal in ALL 50 states.
Dissolving a Domestic Partnership
Dissolving a Domestic Partnership is similar to a Summary Dissolution, in that under very limited circumstances couples may legally terminate the relationship using a much simpler process. That being said, like summary dissolution, very few couples qualify for this simpler process. To qualify for it, ALL of the following must be true:
- You and your Domestic Partner have both read this brochure and understand it.
- You and your Domestic Partner both want to terminate the domestic partnership.
- You and your Domestic Partner have not been registered as domestic partners more than 5 years.
- No children were born to the Partnership before or during the Domestic Partnership.
- You and your Domestic Partner did not adopt any children during the domestic partnership.
- Neither Domestic Partner is now pregnant.
- Neither Domestic Partner owns any part of land or buildings.
- Neither Domestic Partner is renting any land or buildings (except where one or both lives, and that lease does not include a purchase option and will end within one year of filing the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership form).
- Not counting automobile loans, the Partnership’s community obligations are not more than $6,000.
- Not counting loans and automobiles, the Partnership’s community property is worth less than $38,000.
- Not counting loans and automobiles, neither Domestic Partner has separate property totaling more than $38,000.
- You and your Domestic Partner have prepared and signed a property settlement agreement prior to submitting the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership form that states how community property possessions and community obligations will be divided (OR that states that no community property or community debt have been accumulated).
- You and your Domestic Partner agree that you do not want money or support from the other partner except what is included in the property settlement agreement dividing the community property and community obligations.
If, and only if, you and the other party meet all of these qualifications, you may dissolve the relationship merely by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. The form may be obtained from either the California Secretary of State Office or from the State Web site. There is no fee. If you and your partner do not meet these qualifications, your domestic partnership may only be dissolved via petition to the California Superior Court, following the same procedure as dissolving a marriage.
Timing: The domestic partnership will automatically terminate six months after the date the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership is filed with the California Secretary of State, as long as neither partner revokes (cancels) the termination before the end of the six-month period.
Dissolving a Same-Sex Marriage and a Domestic Partnership
If you and your partner have both a domestic partnership and a marriage, you may only dissolve both via petition to the California Superior Court, following the same procedure as dissolving a marriage.