Recently a colleague wanted to know….
If someone entered into a domestic partnership and then the partner terminated the partnership with the Secretary of State two years later, but there was still a substantial amount of consumer debt that the parties accumulated during the partnership that has not yet been divided.
Question: Can a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage still be filed even though they have already terminated the partnership with the Secretary of State? Can the termination with the Secretary of State be set-aside?
Answer: If, not counting automobile loans, the community obligations were more than $6,000 (#9 of the 13 requirements outlined in the “Terminating a California Registered Domestic Partnership- brochure”. If the 13 requirements were not met; then, the termination with the secretary of state can be declared null and void upon proof that the parties did not meet the requirements.
There are cases in which a domestic partnership that has been terminated through the California Secretary of State can be contested in court and set aside (reversed) following the six-month waiting period is over. If you certain your termination should be set-aside after the six-month period, you should consult a family law attorney about this option. The court may have the ability to set aside the termination if you can prove:
- The partnership did not meet ALL 13 of the requirements listed in the brochure at the time the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership form was filed, OR
- You were mislead in agreeing to the terms of the property settlement agreement. This is possible if you find out that your partner lied about the value of property to get you to agree to the terms of the property settlement agreement (e.g. certain items going to your partner turned out to be much more valuable than you thought when you filed or certain items going to you were much less valuable than you thought when you filed), OR
- You signed the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership against your will. This is possible if you can show that your partner used threats or other kinds of unfair pressure to get you to go along with the property settlement agreement or the termination, OR
- There are serious mistakes in the property settlement agreement. Various kinds of other mistakes may make the termination invalid, but you will have to go to court to prove the mistakes.
Correcting mistakes and unfairness in a termination obtained by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership can be difficult, expensive, and time consuming. It is very important for both partners to be honest, cooperative, and careful when terminating the domestic partnership through the filing with the California Secretary of State.
For a Free Consultation contact our firm, one of our Family Law Attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case. The attorney will provide you more information on court proceedings for setting aside a termination.