Marriages and domestic partnerships share a great deal of similarities, but they differ when it comes to legal rights they provide – especially in a divorce or termination of the partnership. Under California law, a marriage is defined as a civil contract of a personal relationship of two consenting adults, while a domestic partnership is defined as a couple sharing a domestic life together. Another major difference is the termination of a marriage versus a domestic partnership.
Terminating a Domestic Partnership
Domestic partnerships can be terminated, dissolved, or nullified. Couples in a domestic partnership can also legally separate.
Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership:
Domestic partners, those who typically are in agreement about ending their partnership and don’t have children or many assets, may use the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership to legally end their relationship.
You may file this Notice with if you meet the following criteria:
- You mutually want to end your domestic partnership
- Your domestic partnership lasted for 5 years or less
- Neither of you are pregnant at the time of filing
- You do not have any children who were born or adopted during the relationship
- You do not rent or own any land or buildings other than your current home
- You do not have vehicle loans, nor more than $6,000 in debts
- You have they acquired less than $47,000 in property (excluding vehicle loans)
- Neither of you are seeking financial support from the other
- Both of you agree to sign an agreement that you will divide all property or debt and nothing else needs to be divided
The domestic partnership will terminate 6 months after the date of filing with the Secretary of State (not the Superior Court).
Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership:
If you and your domestic partner do not meet the strict requirements noted above, you must follow a divorce process like married couples. One of you will need to file the Petition for Dissolution with the Superior Court. The other partner will need to be served with the papers and has 30 days to file a response. You can also use alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation.
Petition for Judgment of Nullity of Domestic Partnership:
The Petition for Judgment of Nullity of Domestic Partnership is like an annulment in a marriage. If you meet the criteria and the court issues the judgment, your domestic partnership will be considered invalid or void.
Call an Experienced Fresno Divorce Attorney
If you are in the process of getting a divorce or plan on initiating one, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Fresno divorce attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.