Domestic Partnership Dissolution FAQ: How do I End a Registered Domestic Partnership in Orange County?
How to End a Registered Domestic Partnership in Orange County, California
Although marriages and registered domestic partnerships are not legally the same in California and they are not both recognized equally outside of the state, the most common processes for ending both a marriage and a registered domestic partnership in California are similar.
When a registered domestic partnership ends, the legal relationship between the two parties is terminated, and it is as if both partners are single, un-partnered people. They no longer have any of the rights, protections, benefits, responsibilities, or legal obligations that those in a registered domestic partnership have. This means that both parties are free to marry or to register a new domestic partnership in California.
Similar to when a married couple terminates a marriage, former registered domestic partners may face things like partner support, child support, child custody or visitation agreements, and the division of property, assets, and debts. However, terminating a registered domestic partnership does not mean that the parties are not married.
If you are in a registered domestic partnership in California, and you wish to end it, you have several options. Like ending a marriage, ending a registered domestic partnership can be life changing, so is always best to work with an attorney.
What is a Registered Domestic Partnership?
A registered domestic partnership is a legal relationship between two parties. In California, the relationship is between two adults who share each other’s lives in a committed relationship. Neither party can be married to or in a registered domestic partnership with another person.
To enter a registered domestic partnership, both parties need to be the same sex, or they need to meet the criteria under the registered domestic partnership law in California.
Registered domestic partners in California are granted the same rights, protections, and benefits as married couples. They are also legally required to meet the same responsibilities, obligations, and legal duties as married couples.
How Can I End a Registered Domestic Partnership in California?
There are several ways that a registered domestic partnership can be terminated in California. A unique method for ending the relationship is through a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
A registered domestic partnership can also be terminated similarly to the way that a marriage can be terminated - through an annulment or a divorce. Those in a registered domestic partnership can also file for a legal separation.
What is a Notice of Termination of a Domestic Partnership?
Those in a registered domestic partnership may be eligible for a Notice of Termination of a Domestic Partnership. If the partners qualify, filing this form with the California Secretary of State is one of the simplest ways to end a registered domestic partnership.
To qualify for this simplified process, the couple must meet the following requirements.
• The Notice must be signed by both partners;
• The parties cannot share any children, born or adopted, and neither partner may be pregnant at the time the Notice is signed and filed;
• The domestic partnership cannot have been registered for more than five years;
• Neither party can own any portion of any buildings or real estate property, and any rental lease must end within one year;
• The parties can share no debts greater than $4,000, excluding vehicle loans;
• The party cannot share more than $25,000 in assets and property, excluding vehicles;
• Neither party can ask for partner support at any time following the termination of the registered domestic partnership;
• Both partners must read the brochure about the legal termination of registered domestic partnerships by the Secretary of State; and
• Both partners must want to terminate the registered domestic partnership.
This process is very similar to a summary dissolution, which is a simplified process for filing for divorce. It allows both parties to exit the legal relationship without going through the court process.
A Notice of Termination of a Domestic Partnership can be finalized no sooner than six months from the date it was filed in the court.
Petitioning for the Dissolution of a Registered Domestic Partnership
A divorce can also be a dissolution or dissolution of domestic partnership. It is a way to end a registered domestic partnership so that the partners are free to marry or register a new domestic partnership, and that all of the rights and obligations of the registered domestic partnership are no longer valid.
Although a divorce is a process to end the legal relationship, there are many ways that the couple can choose to go about divorcing. A divorce includes the creation of court orders for several things: the division of property, debts, and assets, child support, partner support, and child custody.
Creating the terms of these court orders means coming to an agreement with your spouse, either on your own, with the help of professionals, or through the court system. Usually, when couples can come to an agreement on these things outside of the courtroom, they are happier with the results and more likely to understand and abide by the terms of the agreements.
Working with professionals through divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce is a great way to create divorce agreements, even if only some of the court orders are created this way. Nothing that is determined outside of court is official until a judge has approved it.
In order to begin the process, those in a registered domestic partnership must meet the following requirements.
Those who registered their domestic partnership in the state of California have already agreed to the jurisdiction of the courts of California. Regardless of where either partner currently lives, they may divorce in California at any time. However, keep in mind that if you do not reside in California, it may be difficult to create enforceable court orders regarding things like the division of property, children, or support in your divorce.
If you did not register your domestic partnership in California
Those who did not register their domestic partnership in California need to meet the residency requirements for a divorce that married couples do. This means that one partner must have lived in the state of California for at least the last six months, and in the county where the divorce will be filed for at least the last three months.
Similarly, if the partners live in different states, it may be more difficult to create court orders for things like dividing property and debt, and any court orders regarding children or support.
Petitioning for a Judgment of Nullity of a Domestic Partnership
An annulment is another way to end a registered domestic partnership. This means that you are asking the court to declare the registered domestic partnership invalid, and the resulting situation is as if the relationship never legally took place at all.
To qualify for an annulment, the partnership must meet one of the following requirements.
• One partner was under 18 at the time the domestic partnership was registered;
• One partner only registered the domestic partnership because he or she was forced to, or because he or she was physically or mentally incapacitated at the time; or
• One of the partners was already legally married to or in a registered domestic partnership with another person.
Petitioning for the Legal Separation of Registered Domestic Partners
A legal separation does not terminate a registered domestic partnership, just like it does not terminate a marriage. Neither party is free to marry or register a new domestic partnership, and they are still bound to the legal obligations and benefits of a registered domestic partnership.
However, a legal separation can be a step towards terminating a registered domestic partnership, especially in cases where neither party currently meets the requirements for a divorce in California, and they cannot file a Notice of Termination of a Registered Domestic Partnership.
The requirements for obtaining a legal separation in California as a party to a registered domestic partnership are as follows.
• Either party can file for a legal separation in California at any time IF the domestic partnership was registered in California;
• If the domestic partnership was not registered in California, one partner must currently live in California in order to file for a legal separation.
A legal separation means that the parties will need to create agreements regarding the division of property and debts, child support, child custody, and partner support. Remember that if one or both parties does not live in California, it may be difficult to create enforceable orders regarding the division of property and debt, support, and child custody.
For more information on: "How do I End a Registered Domestic Partnership", Contact the Orange County Divorce Attorneys
Terminating a registered domestic partnership, regardless of how you choose to do it, can be a life changing and stressful decision. You will have many options available to you, and depending on your situation, some may be better than others. Rather than leaving these decisions to chance, it is better to contact an attorney who can guide you through the process. Contact the family law lawyers at Yanez & Associates today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to End a Registered Domestic Partnership in Orange County, California
- 2 What is a Registered Domestic Partnership?
- 3 How Can I End a Registered Domestic Partnership in California?
- 4 If you did not register your domestic partnership in California
- 5 For more information on: "How do I End a Registered Domestic Partnership", Contact the Orange County Divorce Attorneys