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    Baby Boomer Publishing


Domestic Partners

For Those Who Don’t Know

On September 19, 2003 California passed into law Assembly Bill 205 known as the California Domestic Partners Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003. It was designed to accommodate the over 100,000 households in California headed by same sex partners. It also benefits older heterosexual couples, where one partner is over 62 years old and looking for an alternative to marriage.

However, the word “benefit” in this context must be used carefully. The Act provides exactly what the name implies, which is rights and “responsibilities.” But the responsibilities may be more than those persons living an unconventional lifestyle have bargained for, and the rights may be far less than they had hoped for.

Since the law only became fully operative on January 1, 2005, every case has to be analyzed individually. There is a dearth of case law to help attorneys advise clients, and the tax ramifications must be submitted to tax experts in this new field of practice.

There's much more...

Denial Of Federal Benefits

On a Federal level the state status of a “domestic partner” has been preempted by what is known as the Defense of Marriage Act Statutes, or DOMA. Also passed by 40 other states, the Federal DOMA holds that the California Domestic Partnership Act has no bearing on the federal definition of “marriage” or “spouse,” and will not qualify domestic partners for Section 1138 federal benefits that accompany traditional marriages between a man and a woman.

In plain language this means that Federal Rights normally granted to a “spouse” are denied to Domestic Partners. This includes:

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Welcome To The World Of State Benefits

California’s law is one of the most far-reaching in the country. Couples who qualify by registering with the Secretary of State are entitled to equal state-conferred rights regarding the following benefits. They all carry heavy responsibility:

• Financial support, including “spousal” (partner) support;

• Mutual responsibility for debts to third parties;

• Access to Superior Court for dissolution of relationship;

There's much more...

A Domestic Partnership Is Not A Political Statement

There are so many uncertainties in this new law that it is difficult to advocate that someone should register without first examining their needs and expectations very closely.

Entering into a domestic partnership is definitely not something you do to make a political statement. Anybody that signed up to support the gay and lesbian rainbow coalition at the park rally years ago is in for a rude awakening.

You could register in the year 2000 and in 2003 the law was passed, but it did not become operative until 2005. Then the law was made retroactive so that everyone who signed up was now legally bound to the partnership. All the rules and regulations regarding community property rights apply, and a divorce is necessary to dissolve the obligation.

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Bottom Line For Domestic Partners

The law essentially defines domestic partners as single persons with community property.

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An Insider's Guide to Estate Planning



    Why pay money so an attorney can try and explain the difference between a Bypass Trust and a QTIP Trust, when this book will answer that question long before you have to pay for a consultation?

    This guidebook helps you map out your estate plan so it goes exactly where you want it to go. It explains the tools you need to give away or preserve your money, homes, businesses, heirlooms, cars, boats, jewelry, tools, art, memorabilia, and every other artifact of life you have accumulated over the last 45 to 65 baby booming years.

(Proud Father of the Bride)

Mark S. Cornwall, Esq.
210 E. Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101