New Domestic Partnership Law

Dear San Francisco Registered Domestic Partners:

            As of January 1, 2005, the State of California’s domestic partnership law will change.  Beginning at that time, domestic partners registered with the State will have many new rights and responsibilities. 

The change in the law will effect couples registered as domestic partners with the State of California in many ways.  Domestic partners will be subject to most of the same laws as married couples, including those affecting property rights and responsibilities for debts to third parties.  In addition, the way to end a domestic partnership with the State will change.  Some couples will need to go to court to end the domestic partnership.

            If you are registered as domestic partners under San Francisco’s Domestic Partner Law, and not with the California Secretary of State under California’s Domestic Partner Law, you will not be entitled to the rights and responsibilities available under State law.  You will, however, continue to receive the rights and benefits San Francisco offers under its local program.

            If your domestic partnership is not currently registered with the Secretary of State and you would like to have the rights and take on the responsibilities given to domestic partners registered under California’s Domestic Partners Law you should register your domestic partnership with the State. 

You can get information on California’s domestic partners law and find the forms to register with the State on the California Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.ca.gov/registries/domestic-partners-registry/ or by calling the Secretary of State’s office at (916) 653-3984 or (415)557-8000.

            If you have questions about this change in the law or whether forming a California Domestic Partnership is right for you, please consult an attorney.  If you cannot find an attorney, you may wish to contact the San Francisco Bar Association for a referral.

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