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Family Law Blog

Domestic Partnerships Are Legal and Must Be Dissolved in Court

Friday, November 06, 2020

Many people, of all genders and ages, are holding off on marriage and, instead, choosing a domestic partnership that establishes many of the essential rights that married people have without legally being considered a 'marriage'.

Men and women who have been damaged by divorce in some way or couples who want the same basic rights as a married couple without the entire commitment of a legal marriage can choose to establish a domestic partnership.

Sometimes this is the best course for a couple, but occasionally these relationships do not work out. We can't all be Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. 

Why Were Domestic Partnerships Created?

A domestic partnership in California is currently defined as an established adult couple who are romantically involved and dedicated to each other while not being legally married. They choose to live together, share property, and even have children.

The couple registers as a domestic partnership for legal purposes, such as in inheritance or adoption issues, and the concept was originally adapted in California as an option that resembles a marriage for same-sex couples who were not allowed, until fairly recently, to be legally married. 

For example, Rick and Steve have been together, romantically, for thirty years before Rick finds out that he has terminal cancer. Before domestic partnerships, Steve had no legal right to make health or money decisions for the person he loves and has always cared for. Steve could not inherit the home he had shared with Rick for thirty years and many hospitals could ban him from his boyfriend's hospital room because he was not considered a legal family member.

Filing for a domestic partnership changed that and gave Steve and Rick the rights they deserve. But what happens if the domestic partnership we are in does not work out and we decide to separate? What do we do?

Separating While in a Domestic Partnership 

What many people don't understand is that a breakup of cohabitating sexual partners can be just as intricate as a legal divorce. A breakup of a legal domestic partnership can be just as intense even though the separation may follow a slightly altered, and constantly evolving, set of rules.   

Since the establishment of the relationship is a legal matter, then you must go through legal means to dissolve it. The dissolution of the partnership is a legal matter and you should acquire the help of an attorney who stays up-to-date on the ever-changing rules of the process.  

Conclusion

Our team at Jamra & Jamra, LLP, understand the domestic partnership laws behind the division of properties and businesses, child custody, and even issues surrounding domestic violence and other forms of abuse. We have direct experience with both homosexual and heterosexual dissolutions and we prefer a mediated process over a contentious fight.

No matter what, we will support you and protect your rights, even if that means going to court.

Contact us anytime and we can help you understand your position, your rights, and your responsibilities towards your former partner. We can outline what your next steps should be and work with you for a diplomatic end to your relationship. 

Tips for Same Sex Marriages Ending in Divorce

Monday, August 10, 2020

Now that it is legal, same-sex couples can get married. While many same-sex couples rushed to get married because they finally could, others didn't feel the need to change the way that they have been living for several years. Many already felt married by that point, so they didn't. They have continued to live the way that they always have.

However, once married, same-sex couples can also get divorced. It can be messy and complicated. Here are some things to consider when getting a divorce.

Time Is Going to Be a Factor

The length of time that a couple is married can really affect a divorce. Unfortunately, many same-sex couples lived together for many years before being allowed to be legally married. Some judges will count the year that you were legally married, though some will count the time that you lived together to determine the rest of the divorce proceedings.

Dividing Property

When dividing up property and assets, the state starts at the property that you owned together since 2013. Even if you lived together for ten years at that point, they will only count the property and assets that you got from that point on.

Hire a Lawyer

Don't forget to hire a lawyer.You should never go through a divorce alone. You need an experienced lawyer on your side to make sure that you are protected and can find a divorce settlement that works for you.

Meditation

Consider using mediation. Since the courts have their own way of dealing with your property and assets, many same-sex couples go through mediation. It allows you to end the marriage on better terms and divide up your assets the way that you want to.

Conclusion

Getting divorced is never easy. If you are in a same-sex marriage, it can be even harder. Legally, you could have acted married for years before you ever did get married. This can really change your divorce proceedings. For this reason, many same-sex couples try to go through mediation and settle everything outside of the court system. If you can work together to come up with a settlement, it is going to be much better for everyone.

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We will be glad to help you get through this difficult time. 

Changing Your Mind After the Divorce Papers Are Signed

Monday, January 06, 2020

In most cases, once the divorce papers are signed, there is really no going back. It is difficult for couples to reconcile once a party has gone through the trouble of having divorce papers drawn up, but it is not impossible. However, once the process has been started, can you stop it?

Modification

The answer depends on why and when you want to stop it. For example, if you want to stop the divorce filing to change the terms of the divorce papers, you have limited options. If the court has already approved them, you will need to file for a modification or appeal.

Cancellation

If you want to cancel the divorce papers after filing, then you have more options. If your divorce is still in the very early stages, you are within your right to withdraw your divorce petition. If the petition has not been filed by the county clerk yet, you can simply withdraw it and end your divorce before it even starts.

Withdrawal

If you cannot withdraw your petition from the county clerk because it has already been filed, you will need to file papers for voluntary dismissal. This can be done at any point during the divorce process and involves filing forms that ask the court to dismiss the case. If you and your spouse have reconciled, this can be done. However, it does involve a filing fee, but you do not have to give any explanation for why you want your divorce case to be dismissed.

Conclusion

Are you considering a divorce? This is not something should be done frivolously, and there are fees involved to prevent that. However, if you are serious and ready to file, contact us today to see what we can do for you. The Law Office of Jamra & Jamra is dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome from your family law cases.

Can You Marry While a in a Domestic Partnership?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Often when choosing to solidify a relationship in the eyes of the law, people either choose a domestic partnership or marriage. While domestic partnership allows many of the same benefits as marriage, couples are not entitled to every benefit that comes with being married. While domestic partnerships are open to everyone, not just specifically to same-sex couples, many same-sex couples took advantage of what benefits they could get before marriage equality went through. Now that same-sex marriage is federally recognized, many same-sex domestic partners are wondering the same thing - can we get married without dissolving our partnership?

The simple answer is yes. If you are in a domestic partnership, even if from another state, you can now marry without first having to dissolve the partnership. It's kind of like upgrading to the full package if you choose to do so. However, this of course means you need to marry the person you are in a domestic partnership with. If you were a domestic partner with someone else, you will still need to dissolve that relationship before you can marry another. This is essentially much like a traditional divorce in process, although many find it much easier.

Once you have made the decision to marry, even if you are already in a domestic partnership, the process is still much like if you are still in no legally-binding relationship. You must apply for a marriage license at the County Clerk's Office and have it officiated within the time limit.

Thinking of Ending a Domestic Partnership?

While marrying in a domestic partnership is easy, not every domestic partnership ends in elevating the relationship further. In fact, sometimes these relationships end divorce. Unfortunately, just because you are in a domestic partnership doesn't mean dissolving it is going to necessarily be easier than a divorce from a marriage. If you are looking to dissolve a domestic partnership and need help, contact us today.