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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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