is it the norm ...or does it just seem that way?
Is it Possible?
Many mistakenly believe that the right to enter into a domestic partnership is only available to same-sex couples. Heterosexual couples may also enter into partnerships on a limited basis. The requirements for filing a partnership are written in FC 297. Since 2005 partnerships, for the most part, must be dissolved in the same manner as a marriage.
A domestic partnership shall be established in California when both persons file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State pursuant to this division, and, at the time of filing, all of the following requirements are met: (1) Neither person is married to someone else or is a member of another domestic partnership with someone else that has not been terminated, dissolved, or adjudged a nullity. (2) The two persons are not related by blood in a way that would prevent them from being married to each other in this state. (3) Both persons are at least 18 years of age, except as provided in Section 297.1. (4) Either of the following: (A) Both persons are members of the same sex. (B) One or both of the persons meet the eligibility criteria under Title II of the Social Security Act as defined in Section 402(a) of Title 42 of the United States Code for old-age insurance benefits or Title XVI of the Social Security Act as defined in Section 1381 of Title 42 of the United States Code for aged individuals. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, persons of opposite sexes may not constitute a domestic partnership unless one or both of the persons are over 62 years of age. (5) Both persons are capable of consenting to the domestic partnership.
California recognizes the creation of community property during a domestic partnership (federal law does not - and this creates a minefield when it comes to tax filing and division of assets governed by federal law such as pensions or savings plans). Partners may have an interest in negotiating a pre-partnership agreement. The dissolution of a registered domestic partnership terminates the registered domestic partnership. Each partner is returned to the status of un-partnered person or a single person. The former partners then will no longer have the rights, protections and benefits or obligations and responsibilities under the law as registered domestic partners. The process of termination will usually also divide all the community property and community obligations of the partners. Once the termination is effective, it may not be undone except in limited circumstances by order of the Superior Court.
With some exceptions, property acquired by a married or partnered person during the marriage or partnership before separation while domiciled in the State of California is presumed community property. Exceptions include property owned before the marriage, property that is acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent, and rents, issues and profits of any of these.