Is gay or same-sex marriage legal in California?
No, it is not. Gay marriage was legal in California from May, 2008 (see In re Marriage Cases) until November, 2008, when Proposition 8 passed.
If a couple was married between after In re Marriage Cases and Prop 8, are they still legally married?
That is yet to be determined. The decision will affect 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place during the window of opportunity, when same-sex marriage was legal. For more information, see Prop 8 Update.
If my partner and I have lived together for several years, are we considered domestic partners?
No. The only way you and your partner can be considered domestic partners is if you register your domestic partnership with the State of California.
How do we register our domestic partnership with the State of California?
Visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/dpregistry/forms.htm to complete a Declaration of Domestic Partnership and mail or deliver it to any Secretary of State regional office location.
Is there a fee to register our domestic partnership with the Sate of California?
Yes. For same-sex partners there is a fee of $10.00 plus an additional $23.00 which goes to develop and support a training curriculum to stop domestic abuse in the LGBT community.
Do my partner and I have to meet any requirements to qualify for domestic partnership?
Yes. You must both be members of the same sex and live together (but both your names do not have to be on the home title). Neither of you can be married to someone else or be in another domestic partnership that hasn’t been terminated. You cannot be blood relatives. You must both be at least 18 and capable of consenting to the domestic partnership.
If we decide not to register as domestic partners, do we have any other option?
Yes. A Cohabitation Agreement can be used to designate respective interests on property, income, and financial support if the relationship is terminated.
Can my partner and I share a last name?
Yes. When you register as domestic partners, you and your partner can change your last name(s) as you desire. There is a space on the form for you to register your new names as domestic partners should you decide to change them.
How do we terminate a domestic partnership?
Visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/dpregistry/forms/sf-dp2.pdf to complete a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership and mail or deliver it to any Secretary of State regional office location. A domestic partnership is officially terminated six months after the date of filing the Notice with the Secretary of State provided that you meet the Considerations for Terminating a Domestic Partnership. Some Couples are required to file a petition for dissolution at a local superior court. See Terminating a Domestic Partnership.
Is terminating a domestic partnership different than a divorce?
No, not really. The process is very much like divorce in every way, with the added pressures of LBGT legal and emotional issues on top of the loss of a primary relationship.
How long does it take to terminate a domestic partnership?
There is a six month waiting period from the time you file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership before your termination is final.