Same-sex marriage has become a much publicized issue in recent years. Pending the United States Supreme Court decision regarding the status of same-sex marriage in California same-sex couples in California may register as domestic partners with all of the same rights, at the state level, as spouses.

A California domestic partnership is “a legal relationship available to same-sex couples, and to certain opposite-sex couples in which at least one party is at least 18 years of age.” It affords the couple "the same rights, protections, and benefits, and... the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law..." as married spouses (

Similarities to Marriages

Currently, California affords domestic partnerships the same rights and responsibilities as marriages under state law. Among these:

How to File for Domestic Partnership

Same-sex couples in California may want to register as domestic partners prior to a determination of whether or not they will be allowed to marry under California law. By registering as domestic partners, couples are entitled to all the rights and protections of state law. To qualify as domestic partners, couples must meet certain conditions. To register a domestic partnership in California, follow these guidelines.

1. Determine whether you and your partner meet the basic requirements to qualify for domestic-partnership status. Certain conditions must be met before a couple can formally apply for California domestic partnership with the Secretary of State' office. Requirements include:

2. Complete the application process as set forth by the California Secretary of State's office.

3. Download the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form (NP/SF DP-1) from the Secretary of State's website at

4. Print and fill out the application. Incomplete forms will delay approval of your status.

5. Have both partners' signatures notarized.

6. Send the notarized application to the Secretary of State's office by mail with payment for the appropriate fee. Applications also can be delivered in person at the main office in Sacramento or the regional branch in Los Angeles.

7. Pay the fees associated with your particular form of domestic partnership.


If you have any questions about Domestic Partnerships, please contact The Law Office of Matthew J. Rudy for a free 1-Hour Consultation.