A new law that became effective at the beginning of this year gives heretosexual couples an additional option other than marriage: a domestic partnership. With the passing of this law, all couples in the state of CA can now choose between getting married or being recognized by the government as a domestic partnership.
Before this law was passed, domestic partnerships were limited to same sex couples, as well as heterosexual couples over the age of 62. The new law, which was signed by Governor Newson in 2019, is now fully in effect.
So what does this mean for couples who are looking to tie the knot soon? For this discussion, we’re looking to answer just that, as well as review the criteria for what qualified as a domestic partnership now that the option is open to all.
What’s the Difference Between a Domestic Partnership and a Marriage?
In California, domestic partnerships were initially introduced as an option for same sex couples an alternative to marriege which allows them almost the same rights that a marriage might. This provided access to a variety of essential benefits and rights that were otherwise inaccessible to those in a same sex relationship.
These benefits and rights include:
- Parental rights and responsibilities
- Family access in hospitals
- State healthcare coverage that applies to family members
- The right to provide end of life care
- Disability insurance coverage
So in many ways, domestic partnerships are virtually identical to a traditional marriage. One major caveat involves the feds: domestic partnerships are not recognized at the federal level. Thus, certain rights might be restricted or inaccessible, including the ability to receive federal aid, adopt internationally, and more.
It’s important to consider your and your loved ones’ needs as you weigh the pros and cons of domestic partnership as an alternative to marriage.
Criteria for a Domestic Partnership
That said, what exactly is the criteria for a domestic partnership? Now that the couple no longer has to be same-sex or over the age of 62, here are the current requirements that still apply as of this writing:
- Both individuals must reside in the same household
- Both individuals are over the age of 18 and able to consent to marriage
- Neither individual can be in an existing marriage or domestic partnership with someone else
- Neither individual is related to one another by blood
Recruit the Assistance of an Experienced Professional to Learn More
Regardless of which option you and your partner opt for, remember to always consult with an experienced family law attorney. Entering a marriage or a domestic partnership is a major decision that will have a major impact on every facet of your life – particularly in a legal sense.
Take the time to protect yourself and your loved ones and learn more by reaching out to one of the reputable family law attorneys at R & S Law Group, LLP. We offer free initial consultations, so don’t delay and call us at (949) 825-5245 today.