For some time, registered domestic partnerships were the only option available to same-sex couples in California who wanted legal recognition. Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, some couples may nevertheless still feel that an RDP is a better option. Only you and your partner can make this determination for yourselves. However, we at the Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson think it is important for you to understand the difference between marriage and registered domestic partnerships before you decide.
If you ultimately decide on a registered domestic partnership, you may miss out on certain benefits that married couples enjoy.
- Joint tax filing
Married couples have the right to file joint federal tax returns. However, the federal government does not recognize registered domestic partnerships, meaning that you and your partner may have to file separately. This is also true if you have to file income taxes in a state other than California.
- Medical decision-making
If either you or your partner has an emergency medical situation, the hospital may not recognize your RDP. Therefore, the right to make decisions on your partner’s behalf may go to a member of his or her immediate family, and you may not have a say in the matter.
- Spousal support
If you end your registered domestic partnership in California, you may be able to collect spousal support, sometimes known as alimony. However, if you move out of California, you may forfeit your ability to receive spousal support in a split from your partner because other states do not recognize the validity of your RDP.
Your registered domestic partnership is valid as long as you and your partner remain in California. However, neither the federal government nor the governments of other states recognize its validity, which could cause problems in certain situations, such as moving out of state, if you choose an RDP. More information about same-sex family law is available on our website.