In California, a registered domestic partnership is treated legally the same as a valid marriage – with all the rights and responsibilities of spouses to each other and everyone else.
Ending a valid marriage in California is through a legal process known as dissolution of marriage. And, if the spouses meet certain criteria, including that the marriage is short-term, they may be able to end the relationship without going to court. This process is known as summary dissolution of marriage.
Parties in a registered domestic partnership are also able to end their partnership through a summary dissolution of domestic partnership, if they meet the same criteria as married spouses.
All of the following criteria must be met to be eligible for summary dissolution of domestic partnership:
Both parties must want to end the partnership
The parties do not have children together either before or after the registered partnership. This includes adopted children and pregnancies at the time of separation.
The domestic partnership was less than five years in duration.
Neither party owns any interest in land and/or buildings.
With the exception of residence, neither party rents any interest in land and/or buildings with a lease agreement longer than one year or an option to buy.
Excluding motor vehicle loans, the parties have no more than $6,000 in debt since the date of the partnership.
Neither party has separate property worth more than $41,000 (not including motor vehicles).
Neither party wants financial support from the other party.
And, both parties have signed an agreement dividing up their assets and debts, or agree that there are no assets and/or debts to divide.
If both parties meet all the criteria, then by merely filing the proper forms and filing them, the parties can dissolve their partnership.
The process itself is designed to be simple, but to avoid potential pitfalls, access the California Courts website at courts.ca.gov, read through the process and follow the instructions.
Also available at the California Courts website is information on how to access legal help either with a court facilitator or a lawyer.