A new domestic partnership law goes into effect today. Pamela Floyd, Director for the agency’s Corporations and Charities Division, fills you in on how state domestic partnership registrations are impacted by the new law:
Q.) Domestic partnerships are registered with your agency’s Corporation Division. Now that the law is in effect, does the process stay the same?
The registration process stays the same. Domestic partnerships are still registered with our agency’s Corporations Division. Couples who want to register as domestic partnerships need to bring a Declaration of Domestic Partnership form, sign the declaration form in the presence of a notary public, and then submit the form and filing fee to us. Filings can be done either in-person at our Olympia office or by mail.
Q.) What changes does the new law bring to the process?
Terminations of domestic partnerships may no longer be filed at the Office of Secretary of State. All terminations must be done through the court system. It also means that if members of a domestic partnership change their name or address, or one of the partners dies, they may file those changes with the Office of Secretary of State, using a form available at the Domestic Partnership Web site.
Q.) Your site says you have 6,546 registered partnerships as of today. How many of those are same-sex couples, and how many are partnerships where one person is 62 or older?
We do not ask for gender on the forms, so we don’t track whether it is a same-sex partnership or a senior partnership. We can only report the number of registrations we have filed with our office. You can search registrations by name at http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/domesticpartnerships/
Q.) Does your office expect a boost in domestic partnership registrations, and if so, how are you planning to handle the increased amount of paperwork?
We do expect an increase in domestic partnerships and we have trained staff available to process registrations as received. We also expect businesses and other state agencies, as well as partners, to be contacting our office for verification or documentation of registrations. We are updating our Web search to include both registration and termination dates and we have staff available to provide certified copies of documents, if required.
Q.) Where do I go to learn more about domestic partnerships in Washington State?
Visit the Domestic Partnership page on the Secretary of State’s Web site to find out registration state laws related to domestic partnerships. We also recommend seeking licensed counsel for questions on legal rights and responsibilities.