In some ways, domestic partnerships can be a lot easier to have dissolved than a legal marriage. Known as a summary dissolution, you can end your partnership without having to go to court. However, because summary dissolution is still considered a divorce (as opposed to a legal separation), not every domestic partnership qualifies, so it is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer before beginning the process.
To qualify for summary dissolution, both partners must meet the following requirements:
- You want to terminate the domestic partnership.
- You have not been registered as domestic partners for more than 5 years.
- You have no children together, born or adopted, before or during the domestic partnership.
- You do not own or rent any part of land or buildings (except for the property you currently live).
- You do not owe more than $6,000 in debts acquired during the domestic partnership (excluding car loans) and have less than $41,000 worth of property acquired during the domestic partnership (excluding car loans).
- You agree that neither partner is seeking partner support.
- You have signed a document for division of assets and debts, or have declared the lack of any assets or debts.
If you qualify, you must read the California Secretary of State’s brochure, “Terminating a California Registered Domestic Partnership,” and swear under penalty of perjury that you have read and understood its contents. After you have done so, you will file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership — which must be signed by both parties and notarized — and a property agreement or declaration of no property, both of which will be sent to the California Secretary of State. The best way to guarantee everything meets California law is to have a lawyer review your paperwork.
After six months, you will be officially divorced and can enter into a new domestic partnership. During this six months, if for any reason one of the partners decides not to get the summary dissolution, he or she must file a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State and send a copy of such to their partner. In this case, you may no longer be able to get a divorce via summery dissolution. Instead, you must go through normal divorce proceedings.