Wail Sarieh
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The Process of Dissolving a Domestic Partnership in California

Family Law

Domestic partnerships are established under California law when two partners of the same sex share one another’s living quarters in an intimate and committed relationship that features mutual caring. These partners can enter into a registered domestic partnership through the California Secretary of State by filing a Declaration of Domestic Partnership. Registered domestic partners have the same rights and protections as married spouses – but with that comes a difficult process when the partnership needs to dissolve.

Residency Requirements

In order to file for a dissolution of your domestic partnership, you must meet different requirements than those of married couples. If your domestic partnership is registered in the state of California, then you have already agreed to the California jurisdiction for your dissolution. But, one of you must have resided in the state for at least six months prior to filing, and in the country where the dissolution will be filed for a minimum of three months.

Filing Your Dissolution

The Petition for Dissolution for Domestic Partnership and Summons will be filed with the Superior Court in the county where the petitioner resides. The petitioner is the domestic partner who is filing for the dissolution. He or she is required by law to serve the respondent (the other partner) with copies of the petition and summons.

Can Domestic Partners Use a Summary Dissolution?

Domestic partnerships are eligible for a summary dissolution just like married couples, but you must meet specific requirements, which include:

  • You meet the residency requirement;
  • You have been in a registered domestic partnership for no more than five years from the date you file;
  • There are no children (either by adoption or born prior to the partnership) and neither partner is pregnant;
  • Neither the couple or one of the partners owns or has interest in real estate;
  • The couple does not owe more than $6,000 in partnership debts;
  • You have no community property that exceeds $38,000 – excluding your vehicles;
  • You or your partner has separate property, but it is not worth more than $38,000;
  • You both agree that neither will receive domestic partner support;
  • And both you and your partner have signed an agreement that equally divides all assets and debts.

If you meet the qualifications specified above, then you can file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the state and avoid having to go to court. Either of you can also revoke such termination within six months of the date when the notice is filed for any reason simply by filing a Notice of Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership.

If you do not revoke the termination, then the partnership will be automatically ended in the six months past the date of the notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership. With the summary dissolution, you have no trial to attend and you can terminate the partnership, but you will not have the right to appeal the case or request a new trial later.

Dissolve Your Partnership with the Assistance of a Family Law Attorney

Understanding the process of a domestic partnership dissolution is not easy. There are complex laws in the Family Code that make it difficult to fully understand the process or even see if you qualify for a summary dissolution. To make the process easier, contact a family law attorney who offers assistance to domestic partners. Sarieh Law Offices, ALC can assist you with your case. Schedule a free consultation now with our attorneys at 714-542-6200, or request your appointment online.

Wail Sarieh
By Wail Sarieh