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Q: What are the differences between dissolution of marriage and dissolution of domestic partnerships?

A: The main difference is that while dissolutions of marriages have been going on for a long period of time, domestic partnership law is relatively new. Because of the differences between California State law and Federal law, there are still a number of uncertainties regarding property division, taxes, and custody issues. Couples who have a registered domestic partnership must dissolve their partnership in California, even if they both move out of the State or never lived in California. They are still under the six month residency requirement, which means that some domestic partners will need to file for a legal separation and later amend to a dissolution. Your attorney should have the skill and expertise needed to guide you through this tricky legal area.

Q: How does Federal law affect my domestic partnership?

A: It’s very important to remember that federal law does not recognize domestic partnerships. Domestic partners, for the most part, do not enjoy the thousand federal laws in which marital status is a factor, including rights under Social Security, Medicare, immigration law, veteran’s benefits and federal tax laws. Domestic partners also may not have the same rights as married persons once they cross beyond California’s borders. Additionally, Federal tax laws have not changed to recognize domestic partners.

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