Are Domestic Partnerships Registered in California?

Are Domestic Partnerships Registered in California?

Sam and Chris have a committed relationship that does not include a formal same-sex marriage. Jon and Julia have lived together for several years. Both aged 65, they don’t want to get married, but they do want some of the tax and financial benefits a marriage offers. Each couple may consider forming a domestic partnership but wonder whether California has a registration process for this type of bond.

What is a domestic partnership?

According to California Family Code Section 297:

Domestic partners are two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.

A domestic partnership is a legally-recognized relationship between two individuals. California Family Code states that a domestic partnership is formed when both people file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. At the time of filing, the couple have to meet certain criteria.

Who can form a domestic partnership?

The domestic partners must:

  • Not be married or partners with another person.
  • Be at least 18 years of age, unless parents or guardians agree to the partnership.
  • Either members of the same sex or same sex if at least one of the partners is over 62 years old.

Does California require domestic partnerships to register?

No. The law says that partners may register their domestic partnership with the state.

However, registering gives the domestic partners the same benefits, rights, and protections that other California married couples enjoy.

What’s the process for registering a California domestic partnership?

The California Secretary of State’s Office accepts and processes Declarations of Domestic Partnership and related documents.

Couples that meet the legal requirements may register by filing a Declaration of Domestic Partnership (Form NP/SF DP-1). California also allows to keep their relationship private by completing a Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership (Form NP/SF DP-1A).

Have more questions about domestic partnership registration in California?

Talk to a California family law attorney to learn more about your options.

Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.