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Sacramento, CA Domestic Partnership Lawyers

In California, domestic partnerships were available to same sex couples long before same sex marriage became a federal right. If you are in a domestic partnership and want to dissolve or change the relationship, understanding how the state views these agreements is critical. At the Boyd Law office in Sacramento, CA, our experienced domestic partnership attorneys in Sacramento, CA can help walk you through your legal options and lay out the best ones depending on your future needs and wants.

How Does Same Sex Marriage Affect Domestic Partnerships?

California still legally recognizes domestic partnerships. Individuals in such relationships are not automatically considered married, and individuals who want to enter into a domestic partnership are free to do so. If you want to marry a domestic partner, you can without dissolving your partnership first, but you must end your current partnership to enter into a new one or marry another individual. If you travel to a state that does not recognize domestic partnerships, you do not have any of the protections a California partnership might provide. Our federal government only safeguards rights for same sex marriage, not domestic partnerships.

The Difference Between Domestic Partnership and Marriage

A domestic partnership is not the same as marriage, and while many of the elements remain the same, there are vital differences. Those in partnerships do not automatically receive the same rights and benefits as spouses, such as tax benefits. As a domestic partner, you may not have access to the same workplace benefits, the ability to petition on your partner’s behalf, or the ability to inherit tax-free assets from your partner.

Filing for a Divorce in a Domestic Partnership

There are some key variations between filing for a divorce as a married couple and as domestic partners. You cannot obtain a legal separation, annulment, or divorce as a domestic partner. A summary dissolution is the fastest way for these partners to obtain a separation. Requirements for this process in California include:

  • You both want to dissolve the legal relationship.
  • You have not officially been domestic partners for more than five years at the time you file your notice for termination.
  • You do not have children together.
  • You do not own or rent property together.
  • You do not have shared debt over $6,000.
  • You do not want support after the termination.
  • You do not have $41,000 worth of shared property or separate property worth more than $41,000 (not including vehicles).

If you are concerned about child support, property division, asset protection, or other factors, you may want to proceed with a different type of dissolution proceeding. A Petition of Dissolution is similar to a traditional divorce, and it provides each individual with the opportunity to use the judicial system to develop an agreeable dissolution order.

Individuals who were in a domestic partnership and then got married will need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership and Marriage to dissolve both legal contracts.

Legal Separation for Domestic Partners

Domestic partners who are not prepared to dissolve the partnership may want to look into legal separation. This option allows both individuals to live apart, divide property, and agree upon a property settlement without filing for a formal dissolution. As with a divorce, a legal separation may involve determining child custody and child support, spousal support, and the repayment of debts. Domestic partners can use a legal separation as a trial divorce or time to work on their relationship while maintaining independence.

Contact a Qualified Domestic Partnership Attorney in Sacramento, CA

If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities in a domestic partnership, the team of Sacramento divorce attorneys Boyd Law in Sacramento is ready to help. They have many years of combined successful experience practicing family and divorce law throughout California, including handling all different types of domestic partnership cases. Our Sacramento domestic partnership attorneys have the latest information on the state’s domestic partnership laws. We will protect your individual rights, rights as a couple, and ability to pursue a partnership dissolution or separation. Contact us for a free case evaluation and more information about our experience with domestic partnership cases.