San Diego Domestic Partnership Agreements Attorney
Prenups Between Same-Sex Partners
Domestic partners are “two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring” and have registered their domestic partnership with the California Secretary of State or the equivalent in another state (such as a civil union). The importance of such an agreement is paramount to a premarital (antenuptial) agreement for persons who plan to marry traditionally. While domestic partnership agreements are generally thought to be utilized by same-sex couples, different-sex couples who plan to share a residence and/or finances should consider a domestic partnership agreement. Our San Diego domestic partnership agreement attorneys are experts in this and all aspects of family law.
Domestic partnership agreements in California are treated almost exactly the same as premarital agreements. The same code sections apply to the creation and enforceability of domestic partnership agreements as apply to premarital agreements between same sex and opposite sex couples that are getting married.
We are experts in drafting and negotiating premarital agreements and domestic partnership agreements. We are often surprised to see how other attorneys create and negotiate domestic partnership agreements, as they are often done extremely poorly and seriously risk unenforceability. Premarital agreements and DP agreements must be prepared and executed in a precise and careful manner.
Differences between premarital agreements and domestic partnership agreements
There are minimal differences between prenup agreements between couples that are getting married and domestic partnership agreements between same-sex couples that intend on registering their domestic partnership. The main difference will be the provisions relating to non-California specific issues, like tax filing provisions and ERISA rights.
Procedure for obtaining a domestic partnership agreement
The process to obtain a domestic partnership agreement is virtually the same as the process to obtain a prenup. Both parties need to be willing to sign a DP agreement. One party hires an attorney to prepare the first draft of the agreement, which is then sent to the other party and his/her attorney. Both parties need to be represented by counsel, although the law allows for a waiver of counsel but it is presumed if that occurs that the agreement is unconscionable (and our firm does not participate in prenuptial agreements unless both parties are represented for that reason.) After the parties negotiate the final terms of their agreement and disclose their complete financial circumstances to the other party, the final agreement is circulated between the parties. The parties then wait 7 days before they can sign their agreement, in the presence of a notary, before registering their DP.
Issues that can be addressed in a domestic partnership agreement
All issues that can be addressed in a premarital agreement may be addressed in a domestic partnership agreement. These issues include:
- Division of community property
- Confirmation of separate assets and debts
- How separate assets and debts will acquire a community interest, if at all
- Alimony rights and obligations, including limitations and waivers
- Tax issues
Issues involving children, including child custody and child support are not enforceable and should not be included in a domestic partnership agreement. By including such provisions there is a risk that the entire agreement, if those provisions are not severable from the remaining provisions, could be unenforceable. The process of drafting a domestic partnership agreements is extremely complex.
Please note that our firm no longer drafts or reviews premarital or prenuptial agreements, except in very limited circumstances.