December 9, 2019

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New California Law Allows Opposite-Sex Couples Under the Age of 62 to Be Eligible to Form Domestic Partnerships

On July 30, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 30 into law, changing existing law to permit opposite-sex couples under the age of 62 years old to register as domestic partners. Those who enter into domestic partnerships have the same rights, protections, and benefits as spouses under California law, including the right, if otherwise eligible, to use sick time, take protected leave pursuant to the California Family Rights Act, or receive Paid Family Leave benefits from the State, in order to care for a spouse with a qualifying health issue, among other rights.

Existing law within the California Family Code section 297 provided, among other requirements, that a domestic partnership could be entered into between two individuals who were either: (1) members of the same sex; or (2) if members of the opposite sex, at least one of the two individuals were over 62 years old and meet the eligibility criteria for certain federal benefits under the Social Security Act.

Under the new law, which will be effective on January 1, 2020, California Family Code section 297 will allow any two adults to enter into a domestic partnership if they are single, at least 18 years old, not related by blood in a way that would prevent them from being married to each other, and capable of consenting to the domestic partnership. This will allow individuals who did not previously qualify for domestic partnerships to enter into them and receive the benefits provided to spouses and domestic partners within the state of California.

SB 30 also includes a provision within California Family Code section 299.2 that recognizes as a valid domestic partnership the legal union of any two persons, other than a marriage, that was validly formed in another jurisdiction and that is substantially equivalent to a California domestic partnership. California’s prior law only recognized such unions if entered into between two persons of the same sex.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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Susan E. Groff, Jackson Lewis, disability accommodation lawyer, protected absence attorney
Principal

Susan E. Groff is a Principal in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She advises and counsels management on various employment related issues.

Ms. Groff advises employers on complying with federal and California requirements for disability accommodation and protected leaves of absence.

In addition, Ms. Groff counsels employers on a host of other employment issues, including wage and hour laws, harassment and discrimination complaints, workplace investigations,...

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Jennifer S. Grock Of Counsel Los Angeles Disability, Leave and Health Management Wage and Hour Workplace Training
Of Counsel

Jennifer S. Grock is Of Counsel in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She focuses her practice on advising and counseling employers on various employment-related issues.

Ms. Grock provides management with advice on compliance with state and federal requirements regarding terminations, leaves of absence, harassment and discrimination complaints, workplace investigations, and employee compensation. She also conducts sexual harassment trainings and prepares employment policies.

Ms. Grock's extensive experience includes representing employers in single plaintiff and class action employment disputes. She has defended employers in actions involving harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage and hour claims and has litigated matters in state and federal courts.

213-689-0404