California Registered Domestic Partnerships FAQ – Orange County Divorce Lawyers

1. My partner and I registered our domestic partnership prior to the new laws of January 1, 2005. How will this impact my California domestic partnership dissolution?

This depends on whether you filed a Notice of Termination of Registered Domestic Partnership prior to the new laws taking effect.

After the legislature passed California Family Code Section 297.5, notices were sent out to all registered domestic partners indicating that the new laws would take effect on January 1, 2005. California domestic partners were given an opportunity to “opt out” of the new laws, by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership before January 1, 2005. If you “opted out” of the new laws, then your domestic partnership has already been dissolved and the new laws do not apply.

However, for the vast majority of California domestic partnerships, California Family Code Section 297.5 applies. It does not matter if your domestic partnership was registered before January 1, 2005. Therefore, if you seek a California domestic partnership dissolution, the proceedings will be treated the same as if you were a married person seeking a divorce.

2. What happens if my partner and I moved out of California after we registered our domestic partnership?

If you moved out of California, or never lived in California but registered your domestic partnership here, you will still be subject to California Family Code Section 297.5.  While Section 297.5 states that domestic partnerships shall be treated in the same manner as marriages, this is one area where domestic partnerships are treated differently than marriages.

Since many states do not recognize domestic partnerships, registered domestic partners who wish to dissolve their domestic partnerships really had no way of doing so if they did not live in California. The California State Legislature fixed this problem by passing legislation that would do away with the residency requirement required for domestic partners to seek dissolution. Now there is no residency requirement for dissolving your California domestic partnership. You can file your Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership even if you and your partner have lived in another state for many years.

3. What if my partner and I have children together but do not live in California?  Will a California court be able to make child custody and visitation orders with respect to our children?

While you can file to have your California domestic partnership dissolved if you do not live in California, there may be issues with you attempting to bring up child custody issues if your children do not reside in California.

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), the proper jurisdiction for deciding child custody and visitation issues will depend on where your child has lived for the six (6) months prior to the filing of the action. Therefore, if your child has not lived in California for the six (6) months prior to your filing, a California family court would not have jurisdiction to decide the issues of child custody and visitation. However, family law courts will have jurisdiction to decide the property issues of your California domestic partnership case.

Jurisdictional issues with regards to child custody and visitation are very complex matters. You should consult with an experienced child custody attorney to determine whether you will be able to have your child custody and visitation issues decided in California.

4. If my partner and I do not meet the requirements for Summary dissolution, do we still have to go through the court process to resolve all of the issues of our case?

Yes and no.  In order to dissolve your California domestic partnership, you will still be required to file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership. However, this does not mean that you will have to litigate all of the issues of your dissolution.

Litigation is very expensive. There are many ways that couples who do not wish to engage in a lengthy dispute can resolve the issues of their dissolution. One method to avoid litigation is to hire a third party mediator to assist you in resolving the issues of your California domestic partnership dissolution. A mediator will sit down with your and your partner and try to come to an agreement with regards to every issue in your case.  If you can come to an agreement with your partner on all of the issues, then you will not have to litigate your dissolution. Once an agreement has been reached, you can submit the agreement to the court. Once the court signs the agreement, it becomes a court order. If there are no other issues in your case, then you can avoid litigation and terminate your California domestic partnership.

However, many divorces and domestic partnership dissolutions have many complex issues. Sometimes it can be very difficult to come to an agreement on all issues. Whether you are in need of a mediator or someone to litigate the issues of your dissolution, you can rely on the experienced family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich to guide your through every stage of your California domestic partnership dissolution.

5. Do community property laws apply to California Domestic Partnerships?

California is a community property state. This means, generally, that any property or debt that is acquired during a valid marriage will be considered the property or debt of both spouses equally, unless there is some other agreement or the parties indicate otherwise.

California Family Code Section 297.5 extends to community property issues as well. The property of domestic partners will be treated in the same way that it is treated for married couples. Therefore, each domestic partner will be entitled to 50% of all of the community property of the California registered domestic partnership.

6. Is it important to hire an experienced family law firm to help me if I wish to dissolve my California registered domestic partnership?

If you are a registered domestic partner who seeks to dissolve your California domestic partnership, you need the help of an experienced family law attorney from Wallin & Klarich. At Wallin & Klarich, our family law attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully helping clients to dissolve their domestic partnership, as well as many other family law matters. We have the skill and experience to help you with every aspect of your California domestic partnership case. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to answer any questions you have regarding your case.

Our office locations are conveniently located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Torrance, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, Victorville, San Bernardino, and Ventura. Call us today at (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.

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