Revised Definition of Domestic Partner

On July 30, 2019, Gov. Newsome signed AB 30 into law, revising the definition of a domestic partner in California.

Previously, to register as a domestic partnership in California, the couple must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Both are capable of consenting to the partnership.
  • Neither is married.
  • Neither is a party to another partnership.
  • Both are at least 18 years of age. An individual younger than 18 may register as a domestic partner with a court order and parental permission.
  • Both must be of the same sex; or in an opposite sex couple, at least one partner must be over the age of 62.

It is this last requirement that has changed. Effective immediately, individuals of the opposite sex are now permitted to register as domestic partners, without regard to one being over the age of 62.

As a reminder, any group insurance policy covering a California resident must provide coverage for registered domestic partners in California. This applies regardless of where the fully insured policy is issued. Coverage provided to domestic partners must be on the same terms and conditions as that offered to spouses. The cost of coverage for a registered domestic partner would not be subject to state taxation. However, the federal government does not recognize domestic partners. Thus, if the partner is not a tax dependent, the cost of coverage would be subject to federal taxation. If an employer does not request relationship documentation (such as a marriage certificate) from married employees, it should not make a domestic partner’s coverage contingent upon submission of evidence of the domestic partnership.

Employers should work with outside counsel to revise plan documentation to reflect the change.

SB 30 »