How to End a Domestic Partnership in California

How to End a Domestic Partnership in California

In the state of California, domestic partnerships are legally recognized relationships between two individuals who are not married but have chosen to live together and share their lives. However, just like marriages, domestic partnerships can come to an end for various reasons. If you find yourself in this situation and want to know how to end a domestic partnership in California, this article will guide you through the necessary steps and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

1. Understand the Eligibility Requirements:
To end a domestic partnership in California, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. These include:

– Both partners must be at least 18 years old or have obtained a court order allowing the partnership.
– Both partners must be of the same sex or over the age of 62.
– Both partners must be currently living together and agree to end the partnership.
– Neither partner must be married or in another domestic partnership.

2. File a Notice of Termination:
The first step to legally end a domestic partnership is to file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. You can download the necessary forms from their website or visit their office in person. Ensure that both partners sign the form and have it notarized before submitting it.

3. Serve the Notice to Your Partner:
After filing the Notice of Termination, you are required to serve a copy of the notice to your partner. This can be done through personal delivery or by mail with a return receipt requested. It is important to keep a record of the date and method of service for future reference.

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4. Complete the Dissolution Process:
Once the Notice of Termination has been filed and served, there is a waiting period of six months before the domestic partnership can be legally dissolved. During this period, you and your partner may need to address various matters like property division, child custody, and financial support. It is advisable to seek legal counsel or mediation to ensure a fair resolution.

5. Obtain a Judgment of Dissolution:
At the end of the six-month waiting period, you can request a Judgment of Dissolution from the court. This legal document officially terminates the domestic partnership. You will need to complete additional forms and file them with the court. If both partners have reached an agreement on all issues, the court will review the documents and grant the judgment.


Q: Is it possible to end a domestic partnership without going to court?
A: Yes, if both partners agree on all matters, it is possible to dissolve a domestic partnership without going to court. However, it is still recommended to consult an attorney to ensure all legal requirements are met.

Q: What if my partner refuses to sign the Notice of Termination?
A: If your partner refuses to sign the Notice of Termination, you can still proceed with the process. You will need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership and serve it to your partner. In such cases, it is advisable to seek legal assistance.

Q: Can a domestic partnership be converted into a marriage?
A: Yes, since June 2014, domestic partners in California have the option to convert their partnership into a marriage. This can be done by filing a Declaration of Domestic Partnership Conversion with the California Secretary of State.

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Q: How long does it take to dissolve a domestic partnership in California?
A: The process usually takes a minimum of six months from the date of filing the Notice of Termination. However, the timeline can vary depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

Q: What if my partner and I have children together?
A: If you have children together, you will need to establish child custody, visitation, and support arrangements. It is crucial to prioritize the best interests of the children and consult an attorney or mediator to ensure a fair resolution.

In conclusion, ending a domestic partnership in California requires careful consideration, legal documentation, and sometimes professional assistance. By understanding the eligibility requirements and following the necessary steps, you can navigate the process smoothly and move forward with your life. Remember, seeking legal advice is always recommended to protect your rights and interests throughout the dissolution process.

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