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More Couples Qualify as Domestic Partners Under California Law

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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