Same sex couples face the same issues as heterosexual couples when one party decides the relationship is over. Registered Domestic Partnerships are recognized by California, and have similar rights to married couples. What this means to you is that California law treats the dissolution of a Domestic Partnership in much the same way a divorce is handled. Issues such as support, custody, and property divisions are determined in this process.
There are generally two ways to terminate a Domestic Partnership. If your domestic Partnership meets certain criteria, one way is to start a summary procedure. This involves filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State’s office. After submitting this form, either party can withdraw the notice within six month. Once that time period has passed, the partnership is considered dissolved. Contact our office to learn the criteria to be able to utilize this process.
The second option is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Registered Domestic Partnership. This is similar to a divorce and involves one party filing a Petition for Dissolution of Registered Domestic Partnership (Form FL-103) with the Superior Court. In this situation, the other party files a response (Form FL-123) and both sides file other paperwork and motions as needed.
You would then proceed in the same way that a dissolution of a heterosexual marriage would proceed. There is still a six month waiting period, just like in the divorce setting. See the other sections of family law as they will mostly apply in this process as well.
Hoffman & Hoffman understands that there are also many issues that vary from a divorce: Issues such as federal law and the differences with California state tax law. Understanding these differences allow us to assist our clients in areas such as support, tax filings and pension plan benefits.