All Californians now have a choice: Marriage or Domestic Partnership

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – According to a new California law, heterosexual couples now have an alternative to marriage and can enter into a domestic partnership. Previously only couples over age 62 or same-sex couples had the option.

Same-sex couples have had both options since they were given the right to be joined in matrimony in 2013.

An attorney with MSM Family Law joined Good Morning San Diego to breakdown what that means for couples and discussed why one option is better than the other.

Similar Benefits To Marriage
• Right to Own Community Property
• Rights Of Survivorship
• Receive State-Administered Partner Healthcare Benefits
• Legal Rights and Obligations For Raising a Child Born During Partnership
• Able to Adopt Child Previously Born to Domestic Partner
• Can Take Domestic Partner’s Last Name or Combine Last Names

Different From Marriage
• Cannot Adopt a Child from Another Country
• Limited Rights When Traveling To Some States
• Must File Federal Taxes as Single (Avoid Marriage Penalty)
• Online Application

Splitting Up
• Some Domestic Partnerships Don’t Require a Divorce (fill out form)
Partners for < 5 years
No Kids
No Real Estate Holdings
Not Requesting Support or Property Settlement
• Typically Domestic Partnership Dissolutions Are Similar to Divorce

Who Doesn’t Qualify
• Anyone under 18 without a special court order
• Anyone who is already married or in a domestic partnership (Couples in a domestic partnership can get married, but married couples can’t switch to a domestic partnership without getting divorced first)

Why Chose Domestic Partnership?
• Avoid religious connotations of marriage
• Avoid stigma of multiple marriages
• Avoid Marriage Penalty for Taxes
• Potentially Easier Dissolution

How To Apply for Domestic Partnership
Pay Fee: $33 under 62; $23 over 62

Categories: Good Evening San Diego, Good Morning San Diego