Domestic partnerships provide legal recognition and protection for unmarried couples in California. However, just like marriages, domestic partnerships can face challenges and ultimately end in separation. Allow our Legal team to help you understand your rights, responsibilities, and legal processes involved in the dissolution of a domestic partnership
Definition of Domestic Partnership
A domestic partnership is a legal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a domestic life, but are not married. California recognizes domestic partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Grounds for Dissolving a Domestic Partnership
To dissolve a domestic partnership in California, either party must establish that the partnership is “irretrievably broken.” Unlike divorce, there is no requirement to prove fault or assign blame.
Filing for Dissolution
The process for dissolving a domestic partnership in California is similar to divorce proceedings. Either partner can file a Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership with the court, initiating the legal process. It is advisable to consult with an attorney or seek legal guidance to ensure compliance with all necessary documentation and procedures.
Division of Assets and Debts
Like in a divorce, the court will divide the community property and debts acquired during the partnership. Community property is generally split equally, while separate property remains with the respective partner. Determining the nature of assets and debts can be complex, and seeking legal advice is recommended.
Child Custody and Support
If the domestic partnership involves children, child custody, visitation, and child support arrangements will need to be established. The court will prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody decisions.
In situations where one partner was financially dependent on the other, the court may award spousal support, also known as partner support. Factors such as the length of the partnership, earning capacity, and financial needs are considered when determining the amount and duration of support.
Domestic Partnership Termination and Legal Status:
Once a domestic partnership is dissolved, the legal status of the partnership ends. Partners will need to update legal documents, such as wills, healthcare directives, and beneficiary designations, to reflect the change in their relationship status.
Navigating domestic partnership separation can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. As an experienced family law attorney we can provide valuable support and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.
Q: How long do I need to be in a domestic partnership before I can file for separation in California?
A: There is no specific duration requirement for filing for separation in a domestic partnership in California. As long as you meet the legal requirements for a domestic partnership, you can file for separation at any time.
Q: What if I need financial support after the dissolution of a domestic partnership?
A: The court may award spousal support, also known as partner support if one partner was financially dependent on the other. Factors such as the length of the partnership, earning capacity, and financial needs are considered when determining the amount and duration of support.
Need to learn more?
Contact us to consult a lawyer who will help you understand what you’re getting into. We’re always ready to provide free consultation on the benefits and drawbacks of domestic partnership separation in your specific case, both from a custodial and financial perspective.