Creating a Domestic Partnership in California

Although California does not recognize common law marriages, it does recognize an alternative to marriage. It is called a registered domestic partnership.

According to Section 297 of the California Family Code: “…Domestic partners are two adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.”

Section 297 further states, “A domestic partnership shall be established in California when both persons file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State … and at the time of filing, all of the following requirements are met:”

Those requirements are:

- Neither person is married to someone else or currently in a registered domestic partnership with someone else.

-The two persons are not related by blood in any way that would prevent them from marrying.

-Both persons are over eighteen years of age.

-Both persons are of the same gender or…

-One or both persons meet the requirements under Title II of the Social Security Act (Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Benefits), and if so,

-Only persons of opposite sexes may constitute a domestic partnership if one or both of the persons are over 62 years of age. Lastly,

-Both persons are capable of consenting to the partnership. The same rules apply for couples intending to marry. They must be of sound mind to enter into the relationship.

Next stop: registering that partnership with the State of California.

Domestic partnerships in California are registered with the Secretary of State. To register your domestic partnership, log on to the website Follow the procedures and fill out and properly fill out the forms to ensure your domestic partnership is legally registered.

Also, keep in mind, that all legal aspects of marriage apply to domestic partnerships, so it may be in your best interests to contact a family law specialist to ensure your rights are protected.

Next week…

Ending a registered domestic partnership