Attorney Steven E. Springer at desk


Steven E. Springer Jan. 18, 2016

Smiling lesbian coupleFor people around the world, New Year’s Day marks a fresh beginning and the start of a brighter future. The holidays bring about a feeling of family and togetherness, resulting in innumerable proposals on Christmas Eve—the number one holiday for proposals. For many more, the New Year’s Eve celebration is the perfect time to start a future together. No matter when your significant other accepted, after all of the fireworks and the celebrating has subsided, many same sex unions are left wondering, “What is next for us?”

The State of California offers some of the same rights, protections, and benefits to domestic partnerships as with marital unions; however, there are provisions that must be made in order to share these privileges.

Foremost, both parties will need to file for a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State. Domestic partners may choose to either file a Declaration for Domestic Partnership or a Confidential Declaration for Domestic Partnership. Both are permanent legal records, however one is open to the public while the other is not.

If the partnership chooses to file confidentially, anyone outside of the partnership seeking that record may only obtain a copy with a certified court order granting permission to receive that record.

Once the decision has been made about how to file and the forms have been submitted, a partnership declaration will only be approved if the couple meets a few necessary requirements. These necessities include the following:

  • Both individuals are at least 18 years of age, or otherwise had their parent or legal guardian’s written consent to the marriage;

  • The entities are not related by blood in a way that would prevent the marriage from being approved in the state;

  • Neither person is already married or is in another partnership;

  • Both parties are capable of consenting to the marriage; and

  • The couple is same-sex, or one of the individuals is over the age of 62

After the partnership has been approved by the State of California, the partnership will receive a certificate of the registration as well as a brochure entitled “Your Future Together.” The couple will then be eligible for a wide variety of benefits. In most cases, these benefits will include:

  • Health, dental, and vision insurance;

  • Sick leave;

  • Accident and life insurance;

  • Death benefits;

  • Parental leave (for a child you co-parent); and

  • Housing rights and tuition reduction (at universities).

As with any legal union, it is recommended to seek legal advice to protect yourself as well as your property and finances. Navigating all of the benefits, responsibilities, and the minute details of the process can be intimidating. However, with an experienced Morgan Hill family law attorney, the progression can be seamless. If you are in Morgan Hill, Fremont, or San Jose, California and would like to discuss your new domestic partnership with a knowledgeable family law attorney, please contact The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer at 408-779-4700.