For most registered domestic partnerships, the Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction over proceedings relating to the dissolution of the partnership. The procedures are equivalent to those involving married persons. Thus, all rights and obligations that attach in marital status proceedings will apply to domestic partnership status proceedings, including equal division of community property, debt liability, spousal support, standard temporary restraining orders (the so-called ‘ATROs’), child custody and support determination, and temporary orders for spousal and child support, attorney fees and costs, and other litigation costs.
“The only exception to the need for these ‘divorce-like’ proceedings for termination of a registered domestic partnership occurs where the partnership is less than five years in duration, there are no children of the relationship, the asset and debt amounts are de minimus, there is no real property except for a short-term lease, and the parties waive support and have executed a property settlement and related documents. Under those circumstances, the parties may execute and submit to the Secretary of State a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership. This procedure is similar to the summary dissolution procedure for married couples.
Howard S. Klein, a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law since 1993, heads the Probate Department of Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt, Klein and Kline in Los Angeles.