ESTABLISHING A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
A domestic partnership is established when persons meeting the criteria specified by California Family Code § 297 file either a Declaration of Domestic Partnership or a Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. One or both partners can change their middle or last names on the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form as part of the registration.
The filing fee for registering for domestic partnership is $10.00. For same-sex partners, California Family Code § 298 requires that an additional $23.00 fee be paid at the time of filing the form, for a total of $33.00. The additional $23.00 fee is used to support a training curriculum specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender domestic abuse support service providers who serve the LGBT community in regard to domestic violence.
There is no California residency requirement in the law. If you do not live in California, you can complete your form online, print it and have your signatures notarized. A notary public in any state can notarize the signatures. The registration form and required filing fee can then be returned by mail to the Secretary of State Sacramento office at: Domestic Partners Registry, P.O. Box 942877 , Sacramento, CA 94277.
CONFIDENTIAL DECLARATION OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
Some LGBT couples prefer to file Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnerships. Unlike a Declaration of Domestic Partnership, a Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership is a permanent record that is not open to the public. Only the registered domestic partners may obtain a copy of their confidential domestic partnership filing by completing a Confidential Domestic Partnership Records Order Form.
Anyone other than the domestic partners wanting a copy of a Confidential Declaration of Domestic Partnership must attach a certified copy of a court order granting permission to the Confidential Domestic Partnership Records Order Form.
After you successfully register, a copy of the declaration and a Certificate of Registration of Domestic Partnership will be returned to the partners after the declaration is filed. In addition, you will receive a brochure entitled, “Your Future Together,” that contains various health information and information on starting a family.
TERMINATING A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
A domestic partnership can be terminated under certain conditions, as provided by California Family Code § 299, by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. The domestic partnership will be terminated effective six (6) months after the date of filing of the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State provided that neither party has, before the effective date, filed with the California Secretary of State a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
If all conditions of California Family Code § 299 cannot be met, domestic partnerships must be terminated through proceedings in California Superior Court.