No one wants to end their marriage, but at least they know how to do it. When it comes to ending a domestic partnership many couples may be stumped when it comes to what actions they need to take to end the partnership and move on with their lives. A marriage is dissolved through divorce, but what is it called when you need to dissolve a domestic partnership? It is called domestic partner dissolution, and the following are some of the most common questions that we get about how to do it.
- How do you end a domestic partnership?
The process for ending a domestic partnership can vary from state to state. However, in Texas, you and your partner will be required to sign and complete a notice of termination and submit it to the court for approval. If you have shared children or assets, the issues of asset distribution and custody will have to be agreed to and established as well as part of the termination proceedings.
- How do you end a domestic partnership if you have children?
If you have shared children with your partner you will still need to file a notice of termination with the court and follow the standard procedures for dissolving a domestic partnership. As part of the termination proceedings, the matter of custody will be determined. If you and your partner can come to a custody agreement on your own or with the help of a mediator you can simply submit the agreement to the court for approval. The judge will approve the agreement provided it is found to be in the best interest of the child. If you are unable to agree on your own, a judge will determine custody through a hearing.
- What happens when I dissolve my domestic partnership?
When you file a notice of termination to dissolve your domestic partnership, the matter will go to a judge and any issues that must be resolved for the partnership to be terminated will be decided. This includes determining how shared assets will be distributed as well as reaching a custody agreement and developing a comprehensive parenting plan for any shared children. In some cases, financial support for one partner (comparable to alimony or spousal support) will also be awarded. Once the order of termination is granted, both partners are free to move on.
- Do I need a lawyer to end my domestic partnership?
You are not legally required to have a lawyer to end your domestic partnership in Texas. However, partners who have shared children or substantial shared assets, such as a home or financial assets, should consider retaining attorneys, as the process can be complex and comparable to dissolving a marriage. Having attorneys to help you navigate the process and aid in negotiations and the drafting of agreements can help to expedite the process and dissolve the partnership as painlessly and efficiently as possible.
- How are assets divided when a domestic partnership ends?
When a domestic partnership ends, a notice of termination must be filed with the court. As part of the termination proceedings, all shared assets must be divided. The parties always have the opportunity to determine on their own how their shared assets will be divided between them. It’s also possible that they have a custom drafted partnership agreement or contract that dictates ownership of assets if their partnership is dissolved. The partners can also use mediation to determine distribution. If none of these situations applies, the court will determine how assets are divided, just as it would in a divorce.
- Who gets custody when a domestic partnership ends?
When a domestic partnership has shared children, they must determine custody as part of the termination proceedings for their domestic partnership dissolution. Their domestic partnership will not be dissolved until custody has been settled. This process is initiated by filing a notice of termination with the court. The parties have the option to decide on a custody agreement on their own or with the assistance of a mediator, or they can leave it up to the court.
- Are there any actions I need to take after my domestic partnership ends?
After your domestic partnership is dissolved you will need to notify the providers of any benefits that you are receiving due to your partnership status. For instance, if you are on your partner’s health insurance because you are their domestic partner, you will have to notify the health insurance company and cease coverage or you may be liable for civil penalties and for the medical bills the insurance would have covered.
- What is a statement of termination?
A statement of termination is a document that must be signed by both partners of a domestic partnership to dissolve their partnership in court. The notice of termination, once filed with the court, will trigger the start of termination proceedings for a domestic partnership.
- Do I have to get divorced to end a domestic partnership?
No, in Texas all that you have to do to end a domestic partnership is file a notice of termination with the court. Once you file this, it will initiate the start of termination proceedings, in which any shared assets will be distributed, custody will be determined, and support will be awarded to a financially disadvantaged partner if necessary.
- Can mediation help dissolve a domestic partnership?
In situations where domestic partners have shared assets or children, mediation may be a very helpful tool when it comes to deciding all issues necessary to dissolve the partnership. For instance, mediation may be very helpful when it comes to determining custody or deciding how assets will be divided. This can also allow you to save a great deal of money on legal fees and expedite the process.
Contact the Covington Law Firm in Richmond, Texas
If you are ready to dissolve your domestic partnership as quickly and efficiently as possible, the experienced divorce and dissolution attorneys at the Covington Law Firm in Richmond, Texas, can help. Contact the Covington Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.