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Domestic partnership termination

Pennsylvania residents who are thinking of ending their domestic partnership may wish to know what steps they must take to do this. The complexity of the termination depends on the longevity of the relationship, property acquired during the partnership and whether there are children. Many times, the requirements to terminate the partnership are listed in the paperwork filed when the arrangement was established.

A domestic partnership ends automatically if certain events occur. If one partner dies or marries, the partnership ends. It can also be terminated if the parties are living apart or if one partner notifies the other that he or she wishes it to end. Termination may take place by filing with the secretary of state, the county clerk or the court.

Property acquired during the partnership is subject to property division. Partners have the option of working out a plan that is agreeable or allowing the court to decide. Property may be divided equally or based on which partner has the greatest investment.

If children were part of the partnership, the court may award child support to the custodial parent. Visitation and decision-making about important issues are part of the child custody agreement. A viable parenting plan may be presented to the court for its review.

The provision of maintenance payments from the higher-earning spouse to the other might be decided in several ways. Maintenance allows a spouse to seek training or education in order to return to the work force if they did not work during the partnership. The court considers the partnership duration, the ability of one partner to help the other monetarily, the health and age of both parties and their standard of living while together. A couple looking to end their domestic partnership may benefit from consulting an attorney. The attorney may offer guidance in drafting a termination agreement.

Source: Findlaw, "Ending a Domestic Partnership", December 17, 2014

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