Senate Bill 30 in California: New Law on Domestic Partnerships

SB 30 - California's New Law on Domestic Partnerships

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

SB 30 - Dissolving a Domestic Partnership in CaliforniaIf 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.

Related: What is a summary dissolution in California?

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:

  1. You must read and understand the Secretary of State brochure on terminating domestic partnership (here).
  2. You must both agree to dissolve your partnership.
  3. You cannot have been registered as domestic partners for more than five years.
  4. You cannot have children from before – or during – your domestic partnership.
  5. You cannot have adopted children during your domestic partnership.
  6. Neither of you can be pregnant.
  7. Neither of you can own any part of land or buildings.
  8. 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.
  9. Your community property must be worth less than $40,000, not counting your vehicles.
  10. Your separate property must be worth less than $40,000, not counting your vehicles.
  11. Your community obligations (loans) must be less than $6,000, not counting vehicle loans.
  12. 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.
  13. 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

SB 30 - Terminating a Domestic Partnership Through the Court SystemIf 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 supportproperty division and more.