Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 30 last summer to balance out the law on domestic partnerships – and will soon apply to both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Here’s what you need to know.
Senate Bill 30 in California: New Law on Domestic Partnerships
Before Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill 30 into law, domestic partnerships were only available to same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples provided that both the man and woman were over the age of 62. The original law was written before same-sex marriage was legal, as it is today.
However, starting January 1, 2020, the law will apply to all couples, regardless of gender and free from age restrictions. When a couple wants to establish a domestic partnership, they must file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State and meet these requirements:
- Neither can be married to someone else
- Neither can be in a domestic partnership with someone else
- The couple must not be related by blood in a way that would prevent them from getting married to each other in California
- Both must be at least 18, except in special circumstances
- Both are capable of consenting to the domestic partnership
This means that heterosexual couples can also formally dissolve domestic partnerships using the same methods same-sex couples have used in the past.
Dissolving a Domestic Partnership in California Under Senate Bill 30
If you want to dissolve a domestic partnership in California, you could be eligible for what’s called a summary dissolution. If you don’t qualify for a summary dissolution, you have to terminate your domestic partnership through the court system.
Terminating a Domestic Partnership Through the Secretary of State
In some cases, you can dissolve your domestic partnership through the Secretary of State. You do this by filing a Notice to Terminate Domestic Partnership, but only if you meet all of these requirements:
- You must read and understand the Secretary of State brochure on terminating domestic partnership (here).
- You must both agree to dissolve your partnership.
- You cannot have been registered as domestic partners for more than five years.
- You cannot have children from before – or during – your domestic partnership.
- You cannot have adopted children during your domestic partnership.
- Neither of you can be pregnant.
- Neither of you can own any part of land or buildings.
- Neither of you can be renting any land or buildings, with the exception of your primary residence – and if you’re renting your living quarters, your lease must not include a purchase option that will end within a year from the time you file.
- Your community property must be worth less than $40,000, not counting your vehicles.
- Your separate property must be worth less than $40,000, not counting your vehicles.
- Your community obligations (loans) must be less than $6,000, not counting vehicle loans.
- You will both sign an agreement that outlines how you’ll divide your assets and debts, or that affirms that you have no community property or community debts.
- You both agree that neither of you wants money or support from the other, except what’s included in your property settlement agreement.
Terminating a Domestic Partnership Through the Court System Under Senate Bill 30
If you don’t qualify for a summary dissolution, you will have to terminate your domestic partnership through the court. It’s always a good idea to talk to an attorney and get legal guidance before you end a formal relationship – particularly if you’ll be working through the court system.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About the New California Law on Domestic Partnerships?
If you’ve entered into a domestic partnership that you want to dissolve, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 209-546-6870 to schedule a consultation with a caring, compassionate and knowledgeable divorce attorney in Stockton right now. We’ll answer your questions about child custody and child support, property division and more.