Leon F. Bennett, Esq.
LLos Angeles and Ventura County Domestic Partnership Lawyer
In California, a Domestic Partnership is available to all same-sex couples and certain opposite-sex couples. At its core, this is a relationship between two adults who are living together and committed to each other, but not married to each other. Many people choose to have a Domestic Partnership for tax reasons or because they do not believe in traditional marriage or are a same-sex couple who had no alternative until same-sex marriage became legal in California in 2008.
Defining Domestic Partnership
To be eligible for a Domestic Partnership in California, you and your partner must be over 18, or if one or both of you are under 18, you must have the written consent of your parents or guardian. You must also obtain a court order granting permission to establish a Domestic Partnership. A registered Domestic Partnership is a legally binding contract in California.
Among all 50 states, California grants the most rights and protections to same-sex couples through its Domestic Partnership laws. Available in California since 2000, same-sex couples can register as domestic partners and receive specific rights they would not have otherwise.
Domestic Partnership rights include:
- Hospital visitation privileges
- The right to use employee sick leave for an ill partner or partner’s child
- A variety of other laws dealing with wills, death benefits and family leave
Domestic partners in California have many of the same rights, responsibilities, benefits and protections as those afforded to married spouses in the state. However, Domestic Partnerships are not recognized by the federal government, which means many benefits given to married spouses under federal law are not given to domestic partners in California.
For financial purposes, Domestic Partnerships can be beneficial for any couple. Whereas California law treats domestic partners and married couples the same for tax purposes, federal law does not recognize domestic partners. Thus, domestic partners could avoid the federal “marriage penalty” which equates to a higher tax resulting from two married people who have the same income.
There are many special nuances and considerations to both creating and terminating a Domestic Partnership. Issues such as the rights of children born to domestic partners, eligibility for health coverage, taxes, insurance and even social security can be uniquely defined under the partnership that can be different from legal marriage.
If you are attempting to form or terminate a Domestic Partnership, we will provide decades of knowledge on all current state and federal laws which govern your Domestic Partnership.
A new law recently signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom has extended the benefits of Domestic Partnership to straight couples under the age of 62 years old. Contact Leon F. Bennett for the latest on your married and unmarried rights.