Some people who enter into domestic partnerships do so because they expect it to be much easier to walk away from their partner if they decide to split. What they don’t realize is that couples in domestic partnerships often have to go through just as many steps in terminating their relationship as married couples who divorce do.
The steps involved in and the amount of time that it takes to end a domestic partnership often depend on the laws of the jurisdiction where the parties live and the terms of their agreements.
One of the quickest ways to end a domestic partnership in California is for the parties to mutually agree to do so. Not just anyone qualifies to expedite the process, however. Only couples who have been involved in domestic partnerships with one another for five or fewer years and who don’t have any children together may legally end their relationships this way. Their joint debts and assets must also be lower than a particular dollar amount.
Those couples who have amassed significant assets together or who have kids in common must file petitions to dissolve their unions in California Superior Court. Ultimately, there will be several hearings regarding both financial matters and child custody before a judge enters an order to terminate the domestic partnership. They may ultimately decide to require one partner to pay the other something similar to spousal support as well.
Although, in a landmark ruling in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, each state handled domestic partnerships differently. In California, when couples split up, they may find that they were in both a domestic partnership and marriage. A family law attorney can advise why you may need to seek both a termination of the and divorce to legally end your union.