Domestic partnerships provide benefits to couples who do not wish to be married. In the states that provide for legally recognized domestic partnerships, the benefits available to these couples is generally on par with that of married couples. The benefits available are created under the law to remove some of the barriers that prevent domestic partners from enjoying these normally available to married couples.
California represents one of the states that offers some of the more broad benefits available to domestic partners. In this sense, domestic partners in California, are allowed benefits similar to that of married couples in the state.
Benefits Under the California Domestic Partners Act
California law gives individuals who register as domestic partners the following rights and protections:
Children: Registered domestic partners with children have the same rights as those of an opposite-sex married couple.
Adoption: A domestic partner may adopt their partner’s child.
Healthcare coverage: Group health insurance and group disability insurance providers must offer coverage for registered domestic partners
Sick leave: An employer who offers family and medical leave benefits must offer these benefits to registered domestic partners. As such, a domestic partner can take time off to care for a sick partner without suffering adverse action against their employment.
Healthcare decision-making in the event of disability: Domestic partners can make healthcare decisions for a partner who is unable to make their own healthcare decisions. As such a domestic partner can make important healthcare decisions for their partner under a health care power of attorney or other advanced directive.
Health care facility visitation rights: Health care facilities must allow domestic partners the right to visitation while in a healthcare facility.
Transfer of property/Inheritance: Upon the death of one partner, or in connection with a property settlement agreement or decree of dissolution of a domestic partnership or legal separation, have the same rights regarding the transfer of property as those between members of a heterosexual couple.
Surviving domestic partners: The surviving registered domestic partner is afforded the same rights as a widow/widower in a marriage. This includes the right to inherit property or receive benefits from a trust or insurance policy.
An experienced family law attorney can assist you by explaining what benefits domestic partners are entitled to. It is important to find an attorney who has experience preparing domestic partnership applications and can assist with outlining the benefits available to domestic partners.