Domestic Partnerships

Richard N. Benson, Assessor - Recorder - County Clerk
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A domestic partnership is a committed relationship of two adults of any sexual orientation. Since 1993, Marin has recognized these throughout the County. In 2000, the State of California allowed registration of Domestic Partnerships.

Because the Marin ordinance only recognizes the partnership within the County, domestic partners that fit the State qualifications should register with the State instead of just Marin County, so that their partnership is recognized throughout California.

Questions and Answers

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  • Aren't same-sex partnerships invalid in California?

    No. Domestic Partnerships are still valid in California. Court decisions regarding same-sex marriages did not invalidate or change any of the Family Code statutes relating to registered domestic partners.

  • How do I register a domestic partnership with the State of California?

    If you and your partner are over eighteen years old and are of the same sex, or are opposite sexes and one partner is at least 62 years old, then you may be eligible to register a domestic partnership with the California Secretary of State. You may register by completing a Declaration of Domestic Partnership Form NP/SF DP-1, having both partners' signatures notarized, and submitting the form to the California Secretary of State with the fee of $10.

  • Why can only same sex couples or opposite sex couples in which at least one partner is at least 62 years of age register as domestic partners?

    The eligibility criteria for registration of a domestic partnership is set by statute. The age eligibility of opposite sex couples requires that at least one partner be at least 62 years old and the age eligibility for same sex couples requires that both partners be over 18 years old.

    Opposite sex partners younger than 62 may still register with Marin County.

  • Where can I find all of the rights and responsibilities of registered domestic partners?

    Many of the rights, protections, benefits, responsibilities, obligations and duties under California law are provided in the California Family Code beginning with section 297. However, questions relating to your specific rights and responsibilities should be directed to your lawyer.

  • My partner and I plan to register our domestic partnership with the California Secretary of State in the near future and would like to change our names. How can we do this?

    One or both partners can change their middle or last names on the California Secretary of State Declaration of Domestic Partnership form as part of the registration. Information concerning this name change process can be found in California Family Code sections 298, 298.5 and 298.6.

    For more information, please review the Secretary of State's Domestic Partners Registry.

  • Marin County Domestic Partnership Registration

    If you do not meet the qualifications of the State Domestic Partnership Registration, you can still apply to become to be registered Domestic Partners in Marin County only. Please contact the Marin County Clerks' office for more information.

  • What are the Qualifications to be a Domestic Partnership in Marin County?

    You must be over 18 years old, be residents of Marin, and you must agree that you will be responsible for each other’s basic living expenses. You must not be married. You must not be related to each other, and must not have had a different domestic partner within the past six months.

    You must also work substantially fulltime in Marin County or reside together in Marin County.

  • What forms do we need to fill out?

    These forms allow you to register your Domestic Partnership in Marin County only:

    • Application for Opposite Sex Domestic Partnership 
    • Application for Same Sex Domestic Partnership 
  • What is the process to file the forms?

    The fee is $20.00. At least one person of your domestic partnership must appear in person to sign your Domestic Partnership form at the marriage license division of the Marin County Clerk's Office between 9:00 and 4:00 Monday through Friday. If one of you is not present, the signature of the person not present must be notarized.

    Please remember: Marin County's Domestic Partnership is applicable only within Marin.

    Please view and download Marin County's Domestic Partnership Information Sheet for more information on domestic partnerships and issues that you will need to consider, such as wills, medical powers of attorney, and the like.

    If you need additional information or have more questions, please contact the Marin County Clerk at (415) 473-6152 or send an email. The office of the Marin County Clerk is located at Marin Civic Center Room 234, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA. Office hours are 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, due to processing time filings are accepted between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM.