As of January 1st, 2015, marriage was redefined in California’s legal code as “a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons.” This legislation has made same-sex marriages completely legal and it will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. That said, not all same-sex couples choose to get married, for a myriad of reasons. Some choose, instead, to enter into a “domestic partnership.”
It should be noted that while domestic partnerships are overwhelmingly between same-sex couples, that is not always the case, as domestic partnerships are also open to all opposite sex couples where one partner is over 62 years of age.
Domestic partnerships, under California law, afford the partners “the same rights, protections, and benefits, and… the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law,” as marriage. As it currently stands, there are only two major differences between a Domestic Partnership and marriage. The first is that it is far easier to get a domestic partnership than it is a marriage certificate. The second is that the domestic partnership may not be recognized as valid outside of the State of California.
Due to this, dissolving a domestic partnership is almost identical to a divorce. You will be required to consider the same issues, such as child custody, visitation, and division of property. Like in a divorce, you will want an experienced, skilled attorney at your back from the beginning of the process to avoid any difficulties—even if the dissolution is amicable. As marriage and the dissolution of a domestic partnership are so similar in the State of California, we recommend you look at our “Divorce Page”
By Connor Douglas Johnson