Domestic Partners can face the same issues that married people can face, and have unique problems as well.
California recognizes domestic partnerships in a way that is mostly like a marriage. Dissolution of a domestic partnership is much like that of a marriage, but there are also special issues faced domestic partners. We can help you understand those issues, and navigate through the problems.
1. California now allows same gender couples to be married. When they do, they are treated by State law, just as if they a same gender couple. Federal law, is rapidly changing to treat same gender marriages as any other.
2. Domestic Partnerships, however, still remain a part of California Law. Domestic partnerships need to be properly formed, or the rights of the parties to community property could be in Jeopardy. Also, Federal government does NOT recognize registered domestic partnerships as marriages.
3. Children. If you and your Domestic want to start a family, you need to understand how one becomes a legal parent if they are not the biological parent. You also need to consider the rights of the non-partner bio parent, and how to select them.
4. Dissolution. While the dissolution of a domestic partnership is mostly the same as that of a marriage, some of the differences can be important. For example, the handling of retirement plans, especially plans under federal law, need special care, because the federal government doesn’t recognize a domestic partnership as a marriage. Spousal support is also an issue, since the federal government may not allow the same tax treatment of spousal support.
5. Child Custody. A non-bio parent can get primary custody of the children. This is especially true if they are the one with day to day care of the children. The primary focus of the Court is the best interest of the children.
6. Domestic Violence. This can be especially difficult because the Court may need to be educated on the normal dynamics of your non-traditional relationship.
7. Just because you have a different lifestyle doesn’t mean you should be treated any differently. That apply’s whether you are married, have a domestic partnership, or are simply living with a person of the same gender. No matter what you lifestyle, you still deserve respect and the protection of the law.