Senate Bill 30: Heterosexual Couples and Domestic Partnership Criteria
By Henry F. Lewis on August 17, 2020
On July 30, 2019, California governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 30, putting a new law into effect. Senate Bill 30 allows heterosexual couples of all ages to register for domestic partnerships in California. This law eliminates some previous restrictions on who was eligible to file for a domestic partnership in the state.
Family law attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP are happy to help individuals in Oakland, CA, and surrounding areas understand the changes enacted by this new law, as well as provide more information about the rights and protections provided by domestic partnerships.
What Is a Domestic Partnership?
According to existing laws, a domestic partnership is formed by two people who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring. When a couple registers for a domestic partnership, they are essentially asking the state to afford them the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple.
Changes Enacted by Senate Bill 30
Prior to the passing of Senate Bill 30, or SB 30, the state of California allowed a domestic partnership to be filed either by same sex couples, or by heterosexual couples where one or both of the partners was aged 62 or older. SB 30, which went into effect January 1, 2020, opened the door to allow heterosexual couples of any age to register for a domestic partnership.
Who Can File for a Domestic Partnership in California?
Domestic partnership registration in California is no longer restricted based on a person’s age or sexual orientation. However, there are still some limits in place regarding domestic partnership eligibility. If our clients at our Oakland firm are interested in registering for a domestic partnership, they must meet these criteria:
- Both partners must be at least 18 years of age, unless certain exceptions are met and a court order is signed
- Neither partner can be married nor part of an existing domestic partnership
- The individuals registering for a partnership cannot be related by blood
- Both partners must be capable of consenting to the domestic partnership
Benefits of a Domestic Partnership
A domestic partnership allows couples to achieve most of the rights and responsibilities of spouses without entering into a marriage. While a domestic partnership between a heterosexual couple in California is not recognized on the federal level, there are still many benefits that this classification can afford:
- Protections for the surviving domestic partner should one partner die
- Legal rights, protections, and obligations for any child born into the domestic partnership
- The right to adopt a child previously born to one of the domestic partners
- The right to own community property
- The ability to add a domestic partner to state-administered health benefits
- The ability for either domestic partner to take the other’s last name, or to combine the two last names
Contact Our Firm to Learn More
If you are considering registering for a domestic partnership, the attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP, in Oakland can guide you through the process and help you with additional considerations, such as a domestic partnership agreement. To learn more about our services, call us at (510) 451-4822, or send us a message online.
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