Domestic Partnerships

A domestic partnership is established when persons meeting the criteria specified by Family Code section 297 file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership (Form NP/SF DP-1) with the Secretary of State. A copy of the declaration and a Certificate of Registration of Domestic Partnership will be returned to the partners after the declaration is filed.

The break-up of a civil union or domestic partnership is very similar to the break-up of a traditional marriage. The couple must come to an agreement on matters such as child custody and visitation, property division, and support. At the Law Office of Heather Cullen, our attorneys have the skill and the experience to represent parties effectively in these and all family law matters.

There are two ways to end a registered domestic partnership in California. Partners may terminate a registered domestic partnership by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. Alternatively, one of the partners must obtain a judgment from the Superior Court. This is similar to the way that marriages are dissolved.

Advising and Representing Same-Sex and Heterosexual Unmarried Couples

Provisions governing domestic partnerships are found in the California Family Code, commencing with section 297.

To learn about your rights under the law as it relates to unmarried heterosexual and same sex couples, contact the Riverside law firm, Law Office of Heather Cullen.

Our law firm understands federal and state laws regarding specific rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples, either gay or straight. They generally relate to issues of benefits or decision-making in areas such as:

  • Parental relationships
  • Health insurance
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Sick leave and other paid leave
  • Wrongful death claims
  • Stepparent adoption
  • Medical decisions
  • Conservatorships
  • Disability benefits

In California, committed heterosexual domestic partners can register their relationships when one party is 62 or older. This secures important rights and responsibilities related to health care decisions, inheritances, family coverage for employer-provided benefits, and matters such as those above. The California Declaration of Domestic Partnership can protect your rights and those of your children in times of family crisis. We are familiar with the differences between California and federal law regarding the rights of unmarried partners. We use our knowledge to advise clients about the choices they face.

Finally, the general legal status of gay marriages changes as the law itself changes. Our law firm stays current on changes in the law, and our lawyers are prepared to offer skilled counsel regarding civil unions and domestic partnerships. We invite you to contact our offices today for answers to your questions. You can visit us in Riverside or Temecula.