How does one go about terminating a registered domestic partnership in California? When termination of the relationship is the only option, couples who are registered as domestic partners experience not only the emotional devastation common to divorcing spouses, but they must endure many of the same legal expectations as divorcing couples, as well.
Filing a Notice of Domestic Partnership Termination
A Notice of Termination may be filed in uncomplicated situations when both parties agree to the separation, there are no children or pregnancies involved, and limited assets are under consideration. In such cases, the termination is final six months from the date of the filing.
In any cases that do not meet these criteria, the parties must undergo a legal separation utilizing the courts to ensure an equitable settlement for everyone involved.
Domestic Partnership and Property Division
Whatever property has been accrued between the time the partnership was registered and the time the couple separated is considered community property. It is divided evenly between the parties. Anything owned prior to that time is considered separate property, and belongs to the original owner.
Domestic Partnership and Child Custody
Child Custody issues are decided with precisely the same criteria used in traditional divorce cases in California. The courts are directed to consider the best interests of the child, and will look at a number of factors in determining joint or shared physical custody:
- The child’s health, well-being, and overall safety;
- The status quo and impacts of disruption;
- Willingness of the custodial parent to work with the non-custodial parent on issues relating to the child(ren);
- The thoughts and wishes of the children themselves if they are old enough to express them;
- Any history of drug abuse or violence.
Beyond physical custody, the court will award either joint or sole legal custody of minor children. This give the custodial parent(s) the authority to make major decisions regarding health, education, and so forth on behalf of the children.
Domestic Partnership and Child Support
The court looks at the net disposable income of both parties in order to determine the amount of child support to be paid from a non-custodial parent. This includes income from wages, dividends, social security, or pensions. This is weighed against any payments toward taxes, health care premiums, mandatory union dues, and costs associated with the raising of other children from other relationships. Continue reading →