Domestic Partnership in Orange County
California recognizes domestic partnerships. A domestic partnership is created when two persons decide to be in a legally recognized committed relationship. A domestic partnership is entered into by filing a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. Once it is filed, the parties have established a domestic partnership. When the law was first enacted, it was limited to same sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where one partner was over the age of 65. Now it is available to any couple that would like to enter into a domestic partnership,regardless of age.
Legally a domestic partnership is like a marriage in California. The parties acquire community property, community debt, and if they separate, one partner may receive spousal support. The main difference between a domestic partnership and a marriage is that the federal government does not recognize domestic partners as marriages. For that reason, domestic partners are not considered married under federal guidelines.
When two people enter into a domestic partnership, they are not free to marry other people. In order to dissolve their status of domestic partners, they must file with the Secretary of State. However, if they have also gotten married, they may dissolve their domestic partnership when they file for divorce.
If a domestic partnership is not created correctly, one party may qualify as a putative domestic partner. In that situation, the party who believed in good faith that a putative domestic partnership was qualified may be entitled to half the assets acquired during the partnership and spousal support.