Domestic Partnerships

Attorney for Domestic Partners in California

In California, same-sex couples have the right to enter into legally recognized domestic partnerships. These partnerships are distinct from same-sex marriage but nearly identical in many ways.

If you have any questions about your legal rights and responsibilities, contact me to schedule an initial consultation at one of my offices in Encino or the Santa Clarita Valley.

Understanding Your Rights Under State Law

In California, same-sex couples that enter into domestic partnerships (similar to what some other states call civil unions) have virtually all of the rights granted by state and local law to married couples. In some cases, private contracts — such as insurance contracts — are also affected by domestic partnership. Entering into a domestic partnership can give you rights such as the following:

  • Rights to make certain medical decisions
  • Rights to inherit property
  • Custody and visitation rights with minor children
  • Rights to assert wrongful death claims
  • Rights to health insurance, life insurance and other employee benefits

Domestic partnership law does not currently allow couples to be treated as married under the IRS tax code, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or other federal laws.

Exploring All of Your Legal Options and Responsibilities

Some legal rights are not automatic when you enter into a domestic partnership, but can be created by contract or by power of attorney. Also, certain rights, such as palimony, can be acquired without an explicit agreement. An attentive attorney can help you sort out what your rights are and what remedies are available to you.

The dissolution of a domestic partnership is legally similar to divorce in many ways. If you are seeking permanent separation from your domestic partner, I can help you understand the dissolution process.

Sorting Out Domestic Partnership and Same-Sex Marriage

Domestic partnership was legally recognized in California in 1999 and has since been expanded. The rights of domestic partners and people wishing to enter into new domestic partnerships were not affected by the state Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage or the voters' approval of Proposition 8 in 2008.

The laws governing same-sex marriage and domestic partnership are constantly changing, and the consequences of many of these changes are often unclear until after the fact. Contact me to speak to a lawyer who stays informed about the latest developments.