Domestic partnerships differ from traditional marriages in many ways, but they also share similarities, especially in regards to ending the relationship. When partners wish to separate, they have two options for where to file their petition. If the partners have very few assets and agree to separate, they may file their petition through the county clerk’s office or Secretary of State. If a couple has major assets or one partner contests the separation, however, they may need to file a petition in court.
When a couple wishes to dissolve a domestic partnership, the court may treat asset division the same way it does a divorce. The court may divide any assets that the couple acquired during the partnership that were not gifts or inheritances. Depending on the situation, the court may divide all assets equally or divide them based on each partner’s equity interest.
In regards to monetary support, the court may require one party to pay maintenance to the other if one partner requires education or training before securing employment. This can be the case if one person stays home to care for the house or children. If the couple has a child, the court will decide on custody, visitation and child support payments based on multiple factors. The court’s main goal is to protect the child’s best interest.
Canceling a domestic partnership agreement can become complicated if the couple has been together for a long time, and some states do not recognize domestic partnership agreements that the couple made in another state. An attorney could explain the process and prepare any necessary documents. The attorney could also represent one of the parties during the proceedings if either party contests the petition or disagrees with any other part of the dissolution.
Source: Findlaw, “Ending a Domestic Partnership“, December 24, 2014