California has revised its definition of domestic partner to remove the requirement that at least one partner be at least 62 years of age.
A couple meets the new definition of domestic partners under California law if they meet the following requirements:
- Both persons must be adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring;
- Both persons must file a notarized "Declaration of Domestic Partnership" form with the California Secretary of State (such form will be made available at the Secretary of State's office or on its website);
- Neither person must be married to anyone else or be a member of another domestic partnership with someone else that hasn't been terminated, dissolved, or adjudged a nullity;
- Both persons cannot be related by blood in a way that would prevent them from being married to each other in California;
- Both persons must be at least 18 years of age (unless a court order is obtained granting the underage person permission to enter into the partnership); and
- Both persons must be capable of consenting to the partnership.
This change is important to group health plan sponsors because, under California law, fully-insured plans used in California are required to offer coverage to same and opposite-sex domestic partners that satisfy the definition.
Prior to the January 1, 2020, effective date of the new domestic partner definition, fully-insured employers should review their plan provisions to ensure compliance with the new requirement.
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