Family Law Attorneys Serving Contra Costa County

Whatley Law Firm is a divorce and family law firm in Martinez, California serving Contra Costa County. We are dedicated to providing a gentle transition for families who are undergoing legal and personal changes. We work to deliver real and relevant solutions for your family, so that you can remove the focus from your problems and begin to create a life that reflects the needs of the people for whom you care. We are the Family Law/Divorce Law firm that considers your best interests first.  


We offer services to people interested in terminating a state-registered domestic partnerships.

What is a domestic partner?  

The law defines domestic partners as "two adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring." California Family Code section 297 (a). 

What is a state-registered domestic partnership?  

One registers a domestic partnership with the state by having both parties file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State.  

Who can enter into a state-registered domestic partnership?  

  1. Neither person may be married to someone else or in another domestic partnership, unless said marriage or partnership has been dissolved, terminated, or adjudged a nullity.
  2. The two persons may not be related by blood in a way which would prevent them from being married to each other in California.
  3. Both persons are at least 18 years of age, except as provided in Family Code section 297.1.
  4. Either one of the following must also be met: Both persons are members of the same sex; or, one or both persons meet the eligibility criteria for old-age insurance benefits under the Social Security Act.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, persons of the opposite sexes may not enter into a domestic partnership unless one or both persons are over 62 years of age.
  5. Both parties are capable of consenting to the partnership.

How does a person terminate a state-registered Domestic Partnership? 

In some very limited circumstances, a state-registered Domestic Partnership may be terminated by filing a Notice of Termination with the Secretary of State only (without filing a court case).  Read more about this process by reviewing the Secretary of State's brochure on terminating Domestic Partnerships.  All the requirements listed must be met.  For instance, there must be no real property owned by either party, there must be no children born to the parties before or during the domestic partnership, and the community debts or properties must be relatively limited.

In most circumstances, court case must be filed.  The process is very much similar to that of a divorce case, and can result in some of the same problems and pitfalls regarding child custody, child or partner support, and property.  

What about terminating a domestic partnership registered with a city or county only, and not with the State of California?

Contact the city or county in which your domestic partnership is registered for further instructions.  The termination probably does not require a court action, but you should carefully research the requirements before proceeding. At this time, we do not offer services to assist parties who have city or county-registered partnerships only.

Consult with us today to find out how we can help you with your domestic partnership.

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