DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP FAQs


WHAT IS DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP?
The City of Berkeley’s Domestic Partnership Registration program allows two unmarried people in a committed relationship to document their relationship.

WHO ARE DOMESTIC PARTNERS UNDER THIS PROGRAM?
Domestic Partners are defined as any two people who fulfill the requirements and swear to the statements in the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership (PDF, 43 KB). 

DO WE HAVE TO BE A SAME-SEX COUPLE TO REGISTER AS DOMESTIC PARTNERS?
No.  People of any gender may enter into a Domestic Partnership.

IS BERKELEY’S PROGRAM THE SAME AS THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRY?
No.  The City of Berkeley’s program is separate and distinct from the State of California registry, has differing eligibility requirements, and does not confer the same range of benefits and obligations upon partners.  See http://www.sos.ca.gov/dpregistry/ for more information on the State of California program.

DO WE HAVE TO BE RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF BERKELEY?
No. The City of Berkeley’s Domestic Partnership Registration program is open to all persons anywhere who wish to participate, provided they live together and meet all other requirements.

DOES OUR AFFIDAVIT NEED TO BE NOTARIZED?
No.  However, there must be an original signature from both parties on the Affidavit.  Partners are attesting to the statements therein under penalty of perjury.

WHAT IS THE FEE TO REGISTER A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP?
There is a $30 fee to register a Domestic Partnership.  The fee is payable by cash or check at the time of registration.

ARE BOTH PARTNERS REQUIRED TO APPEAR IN PERSON TO FILE AN AFFIDAVIT OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP?
No.  Only one partner must appear in person to file the Affidavit.  That person must bring photo identification.

WHEN IS OUR DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRATION EFFECTIVE?
Domestic Partnership registration is effective on the date the signed Affidavit is filed in person by one of the parties in the City Clerk.

WHEN WILL WE RECEIVE OUR CERTIFICATE OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP?
Your certificate can be printed while you wait. We also provide you with one courtesy photocopy of your certificate.

HOW MAY WE REPLACE A LOST CERTIFICATE?
A photocopy of your original certificate will be provided to you upon your request at no charge.  There is a $5.00 charge for a certified copy.

I AM A CITY EMPLOYEE AND WISH TO REGISTER TO OBTAIN CITY BENEFITS FOR MY PARTNER. DO I USE THIS PROGRAM?
No. The City of Berkeley offers a number of benefits to registered Domestic Partners of employees.  However, City employees should register with the Human Resources Department.

ARE DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRATIONS AND TERMINATIONS CONFIDENTIAL?
No. When an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership Registration is filed with the City Clerk Department, it becomes a public record.

HOW DO WE TERMINATE OUR DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRATION?
To terminate a Domestic Partnership Registration, obtain a Domestic Partnership Termination Statement from the Clerk Department, or download the Statement of Termination (PDF, 41 KB). At least one partner must sign the termination form.

MY PARTNER HAS NOT SIGNED THE TERMINATION STATEMENT. MAY I STILL TERMINATE THE PARTNERSHIP?
A Domestic Partnership may be terminated by either party.  We ask that you provide a last known address for the non-signing partner so that we may notify them.

WHAT IS THE FEE FOR TERMINATING A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP?
If both partners have signed the Statement of Termination, the fee is $5.00.  If only one partner has signed, the fee is $15.00. Notice of the Termination is sent to the non-signing partner by Certified/Return Confirmation mail.

WHEN IS A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP TERMINATION EFFECTIVE?
Termination of a Domestic Partnership is effective on the date the Statement of Termination is received by the City Clerk Department.

HOW MAY I OBTAIN WRITTEN CONFIRMATION OF TERMINATION?
A confirmation statement will be printed and mailed to you upon request.

IS THERE A WAITING PERIOD BETWEEN ENDING ONE DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP AND ENTERING INTO A NEW ONE?
There is a six (6) month waiting period between the date the Termination of Domestic Partnership is filed with the City Clerk Department and the date that a party can enter into a new Domestic Partnership. There is no waiting period after the death of one domestic partner.

ARE ANY BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THE CITY TO DOMESTIC PARTNERS UNDER THE BERKELEY MUNICIPAL CODE?Chapter 7.52.060 of the Berkeley Municipal Code exempts registered Domestic Partners from the imposition of the Real Property Transfer Tax when property passes from one partner to another.

ARE OTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITIES, EMPLOYERS, BUSINESSES OR OTHER PARTIES REQUIRED TO RECOGNIZE OUR PARTNERSHIP AS A RESULT OF THE REGISTRATION?
No. The registration may or may not be accepted by other entities for the purpose of recognizing the domestic partnership that exists between the parties.  However, many local businesses do recognize City of Berkeley Domestic Partnerships and refer employees to the City for registration.

PLEASE NOTE: This Affidavit of Domestic Partnership may have potential legal implications under California law which has recognized that non-marital cohabiting couples may privately contract with respect to the financial obligations of their relationship.  If you have questions regarding the potential legal effects of signing the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership, you should consult an attorney.