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AB-2580 Domestic partnerships.(2003-2004)

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AB2580:v94#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 2580
CHAPTER 947

An act to amend Section 377.60 of the Code of Civil Procedure, to amend Sections 297.5, 299, and 299.3 of the Family Code, and to amend Section 14771 of the Government Code, relating to domestic partnerships.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  September 30, 2004. Approved by Governor  September 29, 2004. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2580, Goldberg. Domestic partnerships.
(1) Existing law provides that a cause of action for the wrongful death of a person may be asserted by his or her domestic partner, as defined.
Under certain circumstances, this bill would allow a cause of action for wrongful death to proceed pursuant to the above although a Declaration of Domestic Partnership was not filed with the Secretary of State, if other specified requirements are met.
(2) Existing law provides for the establishment and termination of domestic partnerships, as specified. On and after January 1, 2005, existing law extends the rights and duties of marriage to persons registered as domestic partners. Existing law requires the Director of General Services, through the forms management center, to provide notice to state agencies, among others, that in reviewing and revising all public-use forms that refer to or use the terms spouse, husband, wife, father, mother, marriage, or marital status, that appropriate references to domestic partner, parent, or domestic partnership be included.
This bill would provide that any reference to the date of a marriage also be deemed to refer to the date of registration of a domestic partnership with the state with regard to, among other things, community property or the dissolution of a partnership. The bill would require the enforcement of a premarital agreement as between domestic partners registered with the state before January 1, 2005, if that agreement meets specified conditions, and would require the Secretary of State to include that information in a letter that the Secretary of State is required to send to registered domestic partners, as specified. The bill would further revise and recast certain references to domestic partners or partnerships in the above provisions as “registered” or “state-registered” domestic partners or partnerships, as specified, and would make a conforming change with respect to state forms.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 377.60 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:

377.60.
 A cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another may be asserted by any of the following persons or by the decedent’s personal representative on their behalf:
(a) The decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and issue of deceased children, or, if there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.
(b) Whether or not qualified under subdivision (a), if they were dependent on the decedent, the putative spouse, children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, or parents. As used in this subdivision, “putative spouse” means the surviving spouse of a void or voidable marriage who is found by the court to have believed in good faith that the marriage to the decedent was valid.
(c) A minor, whether or not qualified under subdivision (a) or (b), if, at the time of the decedent’s death, the minor resided for the previous 180 days in the decedent’s household and was dependent on the decedent for one-half or more of the minor’s support.
(d) This section applies to any cause of action arising on or after January 1, 1993.
(e) The addition of this section by Chapter 178 of the Statutes of 1992 was not intended to adversely affect the standing of any party having standing under prior law, and the standing of parties governed by that version of this section as added by Chapter 178 of the Statutes of 1992 shall be the same as specified herein as amended by Chapter 563 of the Statutes of 1996.
(f) (1) For the purpose of this section, “domestic partner” means a person who, at the time of the decedent’s death, was the domestic partner of the decedent in a registered domestic partnership established in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 297 of the Family Code.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), for a death occurring prior to January 1, 2002, a person may maintain a cause of action pursuant to this section as a domestic partner of the decedent by establishing the factors listed in paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 297 of the Family Code, as it read pursuant to Section 3 of Chapter 893 of the Statutes of 2001, prior to its becoming inoperative on January 1, 2005.
(3) The amendments made to this subdivision during the 2003–04 Regular Session of the Legislature are not intended to revive any cause of action that has been fully and finally adjudicated by the courts, or that has been settled, or as to which the applicable limitations period has run.

SEC. 2.

 Section 297.5 of the Family Code is amended to read:

297.5.
 (a) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.
(b) Former registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon former spouses.
(c) A surviving registered domestic partner, following the death of the other partner, shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon a widow or a widower.
(d) The rights and obligations of registered domestic partners with respect to a child of either of them shall be the same as those of spouses. The rights and obligations of former or surviving registered domestic partners with respect to a child of either of them shall be the same as those of former or surviving spouses.
(e) To the extent that provisions of California law adopt, refer to, or rely upon, provisions of federal law in a way that otherwise would cause registered domestic partners to be treated differently than spouses, registered domestic partners shall be treated by California law as if federal law recognized a domestic partnership in the same manner as California law.
(f) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights regarding nondiscrimination as those provided to spouses.
(g) Notwithstanding this section, in filing their state income tax returns, domestic partners shall use the same filing status as is used on their federal income tax returns, or that would have been used had they filed federal income tax returns. Earned income may not be treated as community property for state income tax purposes.
(h) No public agency in this state may discriminate against any person or couple on the ground that the person is a registered domestic partner rather than a spouse or that the couple are registered domestic partners rather than spouses, except that nothing in this section applies to modify eligibility for long-term care plans pursuant to Chapter 15 (commencing with Section 21660) of Part 3 of Division 5 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
(i) This act does not preclude any state or local agency from exercising its regulatory authority to implement statutes providing rights to, or imposing responsibilities upon, domestic partners.
(j)This section does not amend or modify any provision of the California Constitution or any provision of any statute that was adopted by initiative.
(k) This section does not amend or modify federal laws or the benefits, protections, and responsibilities provided by those laws.
(l) Where necessary to implement the rights of registered domestic partners under this act, gender-specific terms referring to spouses shall be construed to include domestic partners.
(m) (1) For purposes of the statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, and any other provision or source of law governing the rights, protections, and benefits, and the responsibilities, obligations, and duties of registered domestic partners in this state, as effectuated by this section, with respect to community property, mutual responsibility for debts to third parties, the right in particular circumstances of either partner to seek financial support from the other following the dissolution of the partnership, and other rights and duties as between the partners concerning ownership of property, any reference to the date of a marriage shall be deemed to refer to the date of registration of a domestic partnership with the state.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), for domestic partnerships registered with the state before January 1, 2005, an agreement between the domestic partners that the partners intend to be governed by the requirements set forth in Sections 1600 to 1620, inclusive, and which complies with those sections, except for the agreement’s effective date, shall be enforceable as provided by Sections 1600 to 1620, inclusive, if that agreement was fully executed and in force as of June 30, 2005.

SEC. 3.

 Section 299 of the Family Code, as added by Section 8 of Chapter 421 of the Statutes of 2003, is amended to read:

299.
 (a) A registered domestic partnership may be terminated without filing a proceeding for dissolution of domestic partnership by the filing of a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State pursuant to this section, provided that all of the following conditions exist at the time of the filing:
(1) The Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership is signed by both registered domestic partners.
(2) There are no children of the relationship of the parties born before or after registration of the domestic partnership or adopted by the parties after registration of the domestic partnership, and neither of the registered domestic partners, to their knowledge, is pregnant.
(3) The registered domestic partnership is not more than five years in duration.
(4) Neither party has any interest in real property wherever situated, with the exception of the lease of a residence occupied by either party which satisfies the following requirements:
(A) The lease does not include an option to purchase.
(B) The lease terminates within one year from the date of filing of the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
(5) There are no unpaid obligations in excess of the amount described in paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 2400, as adjusted by subdivision (b) of Section 2400, incurred by either or both of the parties after registration of the domestic partnership, excluding the amount of any unpaid obligation with respect to an automobile.
(6) The total fair market value of community property assets, excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, including any deferred compensation or retirement plan, is less than the amount described in paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 2400, as adjusted by subdivision (b) of Section 2400, and neither party has separate property assets, excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, in excess of that amount.
(7) The parties have executed an agreement setting forth the division of assets and the assumption of liabilities of the community property, and have executed any documents, title certificates, bills of sale, or other evidence of transfer necessary to effectuate the agreement.
(8) The parties waive any rights to support by the other domestic partner.
(9) The parties have read and understand a brochure prepared by the Secretary of State describing the requirements, nature, and effect of terminating a domestic partnership.
(10) Both parties desire that the domestic partnership be terminated.
(b) The registered domestic partnership shall be terminated effective six months after the date of filing of the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State pursuant to this section, provided that neither party has, before that date, filed with the Secretary of State a notice of revocation of the termination of domestic partnership, in the form and content as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of State, and sent to the other party a copy of the notice of revocation by first-class mail, postage prepaid, at the other party’s last known address. The effect of termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to this section shall be the same as, and shall be treated for all purposes as, the entry of a judgment of dissolution of a domestic partnership.
(c) The termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to subdivision (b) does not prejudice nor bar the rights of either of the parties to institute an action in the superior court to set aside the termination for fraud, duress, mistake, or any other ground recognized at law or in equity. A court may set aside the termination of domestic partnership and declare the termination of the domestic partnership null and void upon proof that the parties did not meet the requirements of subdivision (a) at the time of the filing of the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State.
(d) The superior courts shall have jurisdiction over all proceedings relating to the dissolution of domestic partnerships, nullity of domestic partnerships, and legal separation of partners in a domestic partnership. The dissolution of a domestic partnership, nullity of a domestic partnership, and legal separation of partners in a domestic partnership shall follow the same procedures, and the partners shall possess the same rights, protections, and benefits, and be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties, as apply to the dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, and legal separation of spouses in a marriage, respectively, except as provided in subdivision (a), and except that, in accordance with the consent acknowledged by domestic partners in the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form, proceedings for dissolution, nullity, or legal separation of a domestic partnership registered in this state may be filed in the superior courts of this state even if neither domestic partner is a resident of, or maintains a domicile in, the state at the time the proceedings are filed.

SEC. 4.

 Section 299.3 of the Family Code is amended to read:

299.3.
 (a) On or before June 30, 2004, and again on or before December 1, 2004, and again on or before January 31, 2005, the Secretary of State shall send the following letter to the mailing address on file of each registered domestic partner who registered more than one month prior to each of those dates:
“Dear Registered Domestic Partner:
This letter is being sent to all persons who have registered with the Secretary of State as a domestic partner.
Effective January 1, 2005, California’s law related to the rights and responsibilities of registered domestic partners will change (or, if you are receiving this letter after that date, the law has changed, as of January 1, 2005). With this new legislation, for purposes of California law, domestic partners will have a great many new rights and responsibilities, including laws governing community property, those governing property transfer, those regarding duties of mutual financial support and mutual responsibilities for certain debts to third parties, and many others. The way domestic partnerships are terminated is also changing. After January 1, 2005, under certain circumstances, it will be necessary to participate in a dissolution proceeding in court to end a domestic partnership.
Domestic partners who do not wish to be subject to these new rights and responsibilities MUST terminate their domestic partnership before January 1, 2005. Under the law in effect until January 1, 2005, your domestic partnership is automatically terminated if you or your partner marry or die while you are registered as domestic partners. It is also terminated if you send to your partner or your partner sends to you, by certified mail, a notice terminating the domestic partnership, or if you and your partner no longer share a common residence. In all cases, you are required to file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
If you do not terminate your domestic partnership before January 1, 2005, as provided above, you will be subject to these new rights and responsibilities and, under certain circumstances, you will only be able to terminate your domestic partnership, other than as a result of domestic partner’s death, by the filing of a court action.
Further, if you registered your domestic partnership with the state prior to January 1, 2005, you have until June 30, 2005, to enter into a written agreement with your domestic partner that will be enforceable in the same manner as a premarital agreement under California law, if you intend to be so governed.
If you have any questions about any of these changes, please consult an attorney. If you cannot find an attorney in your locale, please contact your county bar association for a referral.
Sincerely,
The Secretary of State”
(b) From January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2004, inclusive, the Secretary of State shall provide the following notice with all requests for the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form. The Secretary of State also shall attach the Notice to the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form that is provided to the general public on the Secretary of State’s Web site:

“NOTICE TO POTENTIAL DOMESTIC PARTNER REGISTRANTS

As of January 1, 2005, California’s law of domestic partnership will change.
Beginning at that time, for purposes of California law, domestic partners will have a great many new rights and responsibilities, including laws governing community property, those governing property transfer, those regarding duties of mutual financial support and mutual responsibilities for certain debts to third parties, and many others. The way domestic partnerships are terminated will also change. Unlike current law, which allows partners to end their partnership simply by filing a “Termination of Domestic Partnership” form with the Secretary of State, after January 1, 2005, it will be necessary under certain circumstances to participate in a dissolution proceeding in court to end a domestic partnership.
If you have questions about these changes, please consult an attorney. If you cannot find an attorney in your area, please contact your county bar association for a referral.”

SEC. 5.

 Section 14771 of the Government Code is amended to read:

14771.
 (a) The director, through the forms management center, shall do all of the following:
(1) Establish a State Forms Management Program for all state agencies, and provide assistance in establishing internal forms management capabilities.
(2) Study, develop, coordinate and initiate forms of interagency and common administrative usage, and establish basic state design and specification criteria to effect the standardization of public-use forms.
(3) Provide assistance to state agencies for economical forms design and forms artwork composition and establish and supervise control procedures to prevent the undue creation and reproduction of public-use forms.
(4) Provide assistance, training, and instruction in forms management techniques to state agencies, forms management representatives, and departmental forms coordinators, and provide direct administrative and forms management assistance to new state organizations as they are created.
(5) Maintain a central cross index of public-use forms to facilitate the standardization of these forms, to eliminate redundant forms, and to provide a central source of information on the usage and availability of forms.
(6) Utilize appropriate procurement techniques to take advantage of competitive bidding, consolidated orders, and contract procurement of forms, and work directly with the Office of State Publishing toward more efficient, economical and timely procurement, receipt, storage, and distribution of state forms.
(7) Coordinate the forms management program with the existing state archives and records management program to ensure timely disposition of outdated forms and related records.
(8) Conduct periodic evaluations of the effectiveness of the overall forms management program and the forms management practices of the individual state agencies, and maintain records which indicate net dollar savings which have been realized through centralized forms management.
(9) Develop and promulgate rules and standards to implement the overall purposes of this section.
(10) Create and maintain by July 1, 1986, a complete and comprehensive inventory of public-use forms in current use by the state.
(11) Establish and maintain, by July 1, 1986, an index of all public-use forms in current use by the state.
(12) Assign, by January 1, 1987, a control number to all public-use forms in current use by the state.
(13) Establish a goal to reduce the existing burden of state collections of public information by 30 percent by July 1, 1987, and to reduce that burden by an additional 15 percent by July 1, 1988.
(14) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, Section 14774, provide notice to state agencies, forms management representatives, and departmental forms coordinators, that in the usual course of reviewing and revising all public-use forms that refer to or use the terms spouse, husband, wife, father, mother, marriage, or marital status, that appropriate references to state-registered domestic partner, parent, or state-registered domestic partnership are to be included.
(15) Delegate implementing authority to state agencies where the delegation will result in the most timely and economical method of accomplishing the responsibilities set forth in this section.
The director, through the forms management center, may require any agency to revise any public-use form which the director determines is inefficient.
(b) Due to the need for tax forms to be available to the public on a timely basis, all tax forms, including returns, schedules, notices, and instructions prepared by the Franchise Tax Board for public use in connection with its administration of the Personal Income Tax Law, Senior Citizens Property Tax Assistance and Postponement Law, Bank and Corporation Tax Law, and the Political Reform Act of 1974 and the State Board of Equalization’s administration of county assessment standards, state-assessed property, timber tax, sales and use tax, hazardous substances tax, alcoholic beverage tax, cigarette tax, motor vehicle fuel license tax, use fuel tax, energy resources surcharge, emergency telephone users surcharge, insurance tax, and universal telephone service tax shall be exempt from subdivision (a), and, instead, each board shall do all of the following:
(1) Establish a goal to standardize, consolidate, simplify, efficiently manage, and, where possible, reduce the number of tax forms.
(2) Create and maintain, by July 1, 1986, a complete and comprehensive inventory of tax forms in current use by the board.
(3) Establish and maintain, by July 1, 1986, an index of all tax forms in current use by the board.
(4) Report to the Legislature, by January 1, 1987, on its progress to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all tax forms.
(c) The director, through the forms management center, shall develop and maintain, by December 31, 1995, an ongoing master inventory of all nontax reporting forms required of businesses by state agencies, including a schedule for notifying each state agency of the impending expiration of certain report review requirements pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 14775.