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California Family Code 297

California Family Codes
California Family Code 297

California Family Code 297 Attorney

Choosing to enter a committed relationship with another person is exciting. You want to create a life with this person, potentially build a family, and share every aspect of your lives. When you make this decision, you want to receive the benefits of your relationship being legally recognized, but marriage may not be the right choice for you.

California Family Code 297 offers another option for couples who are committed to one another and want legal recognition but do not wish to get married. This is called a domestic partnership, and it offers many of the same benefits as marriage, without the same legal connection. An experienced attorney from Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, can help you create a cohabitation agreement and begin your domestic partnership.

What Is a Domestic Partnership?

Similar to a marriage, a domestic partnership is a way to have your relationship legally recognized. This recognition comes with many benefits, including adoption rights and access to family leave. Domestic partnerships were originally intended to be a way for same-sex partners to have access to many of the same protections as married couples. Not every relationship will automatically qualify as a domestic partnership, so if you believe you want to enter into a domestic partnership, it is important to know the requirements.

How to Qualify for a Domestic Partnership

Domestic partnerships are legally binding, so there is a specific process that must be completed before it can be finalized. California Family Code 297 outlines who will qualify for a domestic partnership and what guidelines must be followed. Couples that are interested in a domestic partnership will have to meet several criteria. If these are not met, then the domestic partnership will not be accepted.

To qualify for a domestic partnership, the couple must meet the following criteria.

  • The members of the domestic partnership live in the same home together.
  • Neither member of the relationship is married to another person or is already involved in a domestic partnership with a different partner.
  • The partners seeking a domestic partnership are not biologically related in any way.
  • Both partners are at least 18 years old or have permission from the court and their parents.
  • Each partner is able to offer the necessary consent for the partnership.

Once all the necessary requirements have been met, and a Declaration of Domestic Partnership has been accepted, then the couple will be able to enjoy the benefits of their partnership.

The Benefits of Domestic Partnership in California

One reason why couples enter a domestic partnership is because of the many benefits that come with a legally recognized relationship. In a domestic partnership in California, these include:

  • Bereavement leave if a family member of your partner passes away
  • Insurance, including life insurance and accident insurance
  • Inheritance rights
  • Death benefits
  • Rights to adopt with your partner
  • Parental leave when you adopt a child
  • Financial and medical decision-making power for your partner
  • The ability to visit your partner in jails and hospitals
  • Housing rights

These rights and benefits, along with others, are a major draw of domestic partnerships, but there are some things that are not included with a domestic partnership. Certain benefits can only be received by those who are in a marriage relationship rather than simply a domestic partnership.

Differences Between Domestic Partnership and Marriage

Marriages and domestic partnerships are both legally binding and recognized relationships, but they do not offer identical benefits. Some of the most common benefits and rights that are only available through marriage include:

  • The opportunity to divide property and assets equally if your relationship ends
  • Tax-free transfer of assets from one spouse to the other
  • Recognition of the relationship at the federal level
  • The ability to sponsor a spouse for immigration
  • Access to benefits like social security and pensions.


Q: What Qualifies as a Domestic Partner in California?

A: Domestic partnerships are available for couples, whether they are heterosexual or same-sex. To qualify for a legally recognized domestic partnership, there are several criteria that must be met. First, both partners must agree to enter into a domestic partnership. They cannot be related to each other by blood, and both parties must be of age. If one partner is not of legal age, they may still qualify to register for a domestic partnership, so long as they get consent from the courts and their parents.

Q: Does California Still Have Domestic Partnerships?

A: California is one of several states that still offer domestic partnerships as an alternative to marriage. It is an opportunity for couples who are living together in a committed relationship to be legally recognized and have many of the rights that married couples enjoy. While domestic partnerships are legally recognized in California, they are not recognized on the federal level. If you and a partner move to another state, it is important to understand the laws pertaining to domestic partnerships in your new location.

Q: What Is the Difference Between a Domestic Partnership and a Marriage?

A: Domestic partnerships are legally recognized relationships that offer many benefits to the partners, but they are not exactly the same as a marriage. There are many benefits of a marriage that you cannot receive in a domestic partnership, including filing taxes jointly, taking half of the shared assets in the event of a separation, and the ability to transfer assets without taxation.

Q: Is a Boyfriend Considered a Domestic Partner?

A: You could enter into a domestic partnership with a boyfriend, but simply being in a relationship would not qualify a boyfriend as your domestic partner. There is a legal process that must be completed before your relationship will be recognized as an official domestic partnership. You will have to get a court order that gives you permission to enter into a domestic partnership and meet all the criteria detailed in California Family Code 297.

Trust Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, for Your Domestic Partnership Needs

Marriage is a significant commitment that often requires a lot of time, money, and other resources. Many couples are committed to their relationship and want to receive the benefits of it being legally recognized, but they have no desire to be married. A domestic partnership is a great option for many of these couples. If you have any questions about entering into a domestic partnership with your significant other, Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, can help. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.

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