Can I divorce my wife and then claim her as a domestic partner?

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2012

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Can I divorce my wife and then claim her as a domestic partner?

We’ve been “separated” for 7 years. She has been living in the garage as a “roommate” for the last 5 years.We are cordial but no hope of reconciling the marriage.

Asked on July 16, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Divorced couples CAN become domestic partners.  You cannot become domestic partners while separated and not divorced.  You would have to get divorced first.

In addition, heterosexual couples must be over the age of 62 to qualify for domestic partnership in California.  In additon, the couple must apply to the secretary of state for domestic partnership, along with a nominal fee.  So, you can't simply claim your wife as a domestic partner--she must agree and sign forms in order to qualify as domestic partners under the law.

Domestic partnership is very similar to marriage, with the sharing of earnings and debt as community property and community debt. 

You should consult a local family law attorney about your separation to ensure that you are legally separated.  You may want to consider divorcing if there is no hope of reconciliation.

Best of luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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