Terminating a Domestic Partnership
A domestic partnership is a legally recognized relationship where two people have chosen to share each other's lives in a committed relationship. Two people can register as domestic partners with the Nevada Secretary of State by completing a form and paying a fee.
A domestic partnership is not a marriage. However, registered domestic partners have the same rights, protections, benefits, and responsibilities to one another as spouses. This means they have have the same rights as spouses regarding their property and debts and also regarding any children that they have together.
The laws about entering into and ending a domestic partnership can all be found in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 122A.
How to Terminate a Domestic Partnership
If two people are registered domestic partners and want to terminate the partnership, they must file papers to legally end the partnership. This can be done in one of two ways:
- The termination can be done easily with the Nevada Secretary of State as long as the partnership was entered into five years ago or less, and both partners agree to all the terms of their separation. The partners can sign a form and pay a $50 fee to the Secretary of State. The form is located on the Nevada Secretary of State's website.
- If the domestic partnership was entered into more than 5 years ago, or the partners cannot agree on how to settle the issues concerning children, property, debts, etc., they must file a case to terminate the partnership with family court. The rest of the information on this page is for people who need to file a court case to have the partnership terminated.
The court process and issues involved in a domestic partnership termination are generally very similar
to divorces. This page covers only the basic information and forms needed for termination of domestic partnerships. For a more detailed overview of things you might need to know for your case (like going to court, preparing for trial, filing motions, etc.), please visit the Divorce section of this website. Many of the links on this page will take you to that section. The information there applies to terminating domestic partnerships as well.
You can attend a class for FREE where you can learn the basics of family law matters. Although there is no domestic partnership class, the divorce class covers the same general issues. Classes are available to anyone, regardless of income, and regardless of whether you have an attorney. Classes are offered in English and Spanish. Visit Free Classes for more information.
Joint Terminations ofDomestic Partnerships (when both partners will jointly sign the legal papers)
Information for the Plaintiff (the partner filing the initial papers)
Information for the Defendant (the partner who has been served with legal papers)
The Court Process
The Final Decree
After the Separation
If both partners agree on all the final terms of their separation and have been domestic partners 5 years or less, you do not need these forms. Instead, you can fill out a form on the Nevada Secretary of State's website. Both partners must sign the form and send it with $50 to the Secretary of State.
However, if you have been registered domestic partners for more than 5 years, you cannot use the simplified process above. Instead, you have to file a court case and get a judge's order to legally end the partnership.
As long as both partners agree on all the final terms (including dividing property, debts, and how to resolve child custody matters if you have children together), you can complete one of the packets below. The packets include the instructions and all the court forms needed.
Fill out the Papers
If you want to terminate your domestic partnership, but your domestic partner will not agree to sign the papers, you can file a Complaint to Terminate the Domestic Partnership yourself. You must download the forms in one of the packets below and follow all of the included instructions.
File the Papers
After completing the papers above, you will have to "file" the papers with the family court. This officially opens up your case with the court. You can file them in person, by mail, or online. The information on how to file the papers can be found by clicking here. There is a $289 filing fee to file these papers.
Serve the Papers
Once you have filed the papers, your next step is to have your partner personally served with a copy of all of the documents you filed. It is up to you to make sure your partner is served; the court does not serve the papers for you. Learn all about how to have your partner served by visiting the How to Serve the Complaint page.
If you have been served with a complaint to terminate a domestic partnership, there are things you must do to participate in the case. If you do nothing, your partner may be able to get a final decree without you. You only have 20 days after being served to file your own response. Follow all of the steps below, and please also visit the Responding to the Complaint page for detailed information about what is involved in responding to the complaint.
Fill out the Papers
To respond to the complaint, you must complete an Answer and Counterclaim. This allows you to respond to your partner's requests, and lets you put together your own proposal for how the partnership should be terminated. To respond, download one of the packets below and follow all of the included instructions.
File the Papers
After completing the papers above, you will have to "file" the papers with the family court. You can file them in person, by mail, or online. The information on how to file the papers can be found by clicking here. There is a $212 filing fee to file these papers.
Serve the Papers
Once you have filed the papers, your next step is to serve your partner with a copy of all of the documents you filed. It is up to you to make sure your partner is served; the court does not serve the papers for you. Learn all about how to have your partner served by visiting the How to Serve the Answer & Counterclaim page.
There are many things that may happen after the initial papers are filed. A brief description of some events is below, with links included to detailed discussions of each subject.
- Default. If the Defendant did not file a response within 20 days of being served with the complaint and summons, the Plaintiff can ask the court to enter a "default" against the Defendant. If entered, a default stops the Defendant from being able to respond to the case and allows the Plaintiff to ask for a final decree. Please visit the Default section and then the Final Decree section for information about this.
- Case Management Conference. If the Defendant filed a response, the judge is required to set an initial hearing within 90 days of the date the answer was filed. This is an initial hearing where the judge can find out some basic information about the parties and the issues involved in the case. Please visit Case Management Conference for more information about this hearing and how to prepare.
- Motions for Temporary Orders. If the parties need the judge to issue some temporary orders while the separation case is moving forward, either party can file a "motion" asking the judge for some temporary orders. Temporary orders can include temporary custody orders, temporary visitation schedules, temporary child support or alimony, etc. Please visit Motions and Oppositions for Temporary Orders for more information.
- Family Mediation Center. When parents cannot agree on custody or visitation schedules for their children, the court requires them to attempt mediation. You can learn more about this process by visiting the Family Mediation Center page.
- Trial. When the parties cannot agree to all the final terms of their separation, the judge will have to set a trial and decide the issues. You can learn about trial preparation and the trial process itself by visiting the Trial page.
Once all of the issues involved in the case have been decided (either because the parties reached an agreement, the judge decided everything at trial, or a default was taken against the Defendant), the final step in the case is getting a Decree Terminating Domestic Partnership approved by the judge. There are many steps involved in getting a final decree. You can learn about all of the steps by visiting the Final Decree page.
Download one of the packets below depending on whether you have children together and whether a court hearing with a judge was required. All of the forms you should need are included in each packet. Follow all of the included instructions.
Parties sometimes have issues that they need help with after the separation is finalized. This can include problems with the child custody order, the visitation schedule, the child support order, the alimony order, etc. A person may need help enforcing the existing order (because the other person will not follow the court order), or a person may want to change the order completely.
There are many options available to get the court's help if problems arise later. These options are all explained in detail on the Changing the Order page and the Enforcing the Order page. All of the options in those sections are available to people who have a Termination of Domestic Partnership decree.