Code of the District of Columbia

§ 32–702. Domestic partnership registration and termination procedures.

(a) To establish the existence of a domestic partnership and to qualify for benefits under §§ 32-704, 32-705, and 32-706, persons shall register as domestic partners by executing a declaration of domestic partnership to be filed with the Mayor. For the purposes of this section, the declaration shall be signed by the domestic partners and shall affirm under penalty of perjury that each domestic partner:

(1) Is at least 18 years old and competent to contract;

(2) Is the sole domestic partner of the other person;

(3) Is not married; and

(4) Is in a committed relationship with the other person.

(b) Before accepting a declaration of domestic partnership, the Mayor may examine any applicant under oath to ascertain the names and ages of the persons desiring to register as domestic partners and any other information as required by subsection (a) of this section.

(c) All information contained in a declaration of domestic partnership, except the address of the partners, shall be open to inspection as a public record.

(d) A domestic partnership may be terminated only by the following methods:

(1) Either domestic partner may terminate the domestic partnership by filing a termination statement with the Mayor. The person filing the termination statement shall declare that:

(A) The domestic partnership is to be terminated; and

(B) A copy of the termination statement has been served on the other domestic partner if the termination statement is not signed by both domestic partners.

(2) A domestic partner may terminate a domestic partnership because the other domestic partner has abandoned the domestic partnership by filing a termination statement with the Mayor. The person filing the termination statement shall declare that:

(A) The domestic partnership is to be terminated;

(B) The other domestic partner permanently departed the mutual residence at least 6 months before the filing of the termination statement, or has not been in contact with the domestic partner filing the termination statement for at least 6 months preceding the filing of the termination statement; and

(C) If the location of the other domestic partner is known, a copy of the termination statement has been served on the other domestic partner.

(3) A domestic partnership shall terminate by operation of law if the domestic partners marry each other or another person.

(4) A domestic partnership shall terminate upon the death of either domestic partner.

(5)(A) A domestic partnership may be terminated by judicial decree or judgment pursuant to § 16-904(e).

(B) Domestic partners who terminate their domestic partnership under this paragraph shall subsequently inform the Mayor of the termination and provide any required documentation.

(d-1) Any form provided by the Mayor for domestic partnership terminations shall indicate that the Mayor is not responsible for resolving any attendant legal issues arising from the termination of a domestic partnership under Chapter 9 of Title 16.

(e)(1) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(1) of this section shall take effect 6 months after the termination statement is filed, during which period benefits will continue to accrue.

(2) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(2) of this section shall take effect immediately upon the filing of the statement.

(3) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(3) of this section shall take effect immediately upon the date of the certification of marriage.

(4) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(4) of this section shall take effect immediately upon the death of the domestic partner.

(4A) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(5) of this section shall take effect as provided in § 16-920.

(5) No provision of this subsection shall be interpreted to terminate any rights or benefits otherwise afforded under the law to a surviving domestic partner.

(f) A District government employee who is separated from service, or an employee’s dependent child who ceases to be a dependent, may be eligible for extended health benefits coverage in accordance with § 1-621.14.

(g) In accordance with the rules issued pursuant to § 32-708, the Mayor may charge a fee for filing a declaration of domestic partnership, a domestic partnership termination statement, and for filing any amendments to the declaration or termination statement.

(h) District residents who are not District government employees may register as domestic partners by executing a declaration of domestic partnership to be filed with the Mayor in accordance with subsections (a) through (g) of this section.

(i)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, relationships established in accordance with the laws of other jurisdictions, other than marriages, that are substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, as certified by the Mayor, shall be recognized as domestic partnerships in the District. The Mayor shall establish and maintain a certified list of jurisdictions so recognized. The Mayor shall broadly construe the term “substantially similar” to maximize the recognition of relationships from other jurisdictions as domestic partnerships in the District.

(2) If the Mayor has not yet certified, pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, that the laws of a jurisdiction permit the establishment of relationships substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, and if the laws of that jurisdiction prescribe that the relationship, regardless of the term or phrase used to refer to the relationship, has all the rights and responsibilities of marriage under the laws of that jurisdiction, the relationship shall be recognized as a domestic partnership in the District and the Mayor shall include that jurisdiction in the certified list required under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(j)(1) Two persons in a valid domestic partnership pursuant to this chapter may apply for and receive a marriage license in accordance with Chapter 4 of Title 46 [§ 46-401] passim.

passim.

(2) Two persons who are in a domestic partnership and have registered their domestic partnership pursuant to this section shall not be charged a marriage license fee.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 3, 39 DCR 2861; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 50, 45 DCR 745; Sept. 12, 2008, D.C. Law 17-231, § 30, 55 DCR 6758; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 18-33, § 4, 56 DCR 4269; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 405, 56 DCR 7413; Mar. 3, 2010, D.C. Law 18-110, § 3, 57 DCR 27; Apr. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-105, § 3(b), 63 DCR 217.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1402.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-301.45, § 7-1231.13, § 16-909, § 16-910, § 16-911, § 16-913, § 16-916, § 21-2202, § 21-2208, § 22-501, § 32-701, § 38-2021.05, § 38-2021.09, § 46-503, § 46-504, § 46-505, § 46-506, § 47-1801.04, § 47-1812.08, § 47-4509, and § 50-2201.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-231 rewrote subsecs. (d) and (e); in subsec. (h), substituted “District residents who are not government employees” for “Private sector employees”; and added subsec. (i).

D.C. Law 18-33 rewrote subsec. (i), which read as follows: “(i) Relationships established in accordance with the laws of other jurisdictions that are substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, as certified by the Mayor, shall be recognized as domestic partnerships in the District.”

D.C. Law 18-88, in subsec. (h), substituted “District government” for “government”.

D.C. Law 18-110 rewrote subsec. (d)(3); in subsec. (e)(3), substituted “certification of marriage” for “marriage”; and added subsec. (j). Prior to amendment, subsec. (d)(3) read as follows: “(3) A domestic partnership shall terminate if the domestic partners marry each other. Notice that the domestic partnership has been terminated in this manner shall be provided to the Mayor within 30 days of the marriage.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 405 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 405 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).