November 20, 2012
Presenting a declaration of domestic partnership for filing with the Secretary of State is a necessary prerequisite for a valid domestic partnership. Signing a declaration of domestic partnership and having it notarized is not sufficient alone. Here, because plaintiff's purported domestic partner was deceased when plaintiff presented the declaration of domestic partnership for filing with the Secretary of State, they never became domestic partners. Therefore, Plaintiff was not entitled to the decedent's state pension survivor benefits. The court also held that the putative spouse doctrine did not apply because that doctrine protects the expectation of parties who accumulate property over time believing they are part of a valid union. Here, plaintiff and the decedent attempted to establish a domestic partnership shortly before one of them died, so they did not accumulate property over time in expectation of having a valid union.
Cal.App. 3rd Dist. (C067715) 8/31/12