D.C. Law 21-105. Domestic Partnership Termination Recognition Amendment Act of 2015.

D.C. Law 21-105. Domestic Partnership Termination Recognition Amendment Act of 2015.

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 9 of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code to provide that domestic partnerships may be terminated by judicial decree or judgment; to amend the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 to allow couples who formed domestic partnerships in other jurisdictions or the District of Columbia to terminate the domestic partnership and have that termination recognized by other jurisdictions; to amend the Mental Health Consumers’ Rights Protection Act of 1992, section 21-2208 of the District of Columbia Official Code, An Act To establish a code of law for the District of Columbia, and An Act For the retirement of public-school teachers in the District of Columbia to make conforming amendments; and to amend Chapter 80 of Title 29 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations to make conforming amendments and to require that a person seeking to terminate a domestic partnership file a declaration if the other domestic partner has abandoned the domestic partnership.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the "Domestic Partnership Termination Recognition Amendment Act of 2015".

Sec. 2. Chapter 9 of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended as follows:

(a) Section 16-904 is amended by adding a new subsection (e) to read as follows:

"(e) Domestic partnerships registered under § 32-702(a) or relationships recognized under § 32-702(i) may be terminated by judicial decree or judgment.".

(b) Section 16-909 is amended by striking the phrase "pursuant to § 32-702(d)" wherever it appears and inserting the phrase "pursuant to § 32-702(d) or § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(c) Section 16-910 is amended by striking the phrase "pursuant to § 32-702(d)" and inserting the phrase "pursuant to § 32-702(d) or § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(d) Section 16-911(a) is amended by striking the phrase "pursuant to § 32-702(d)" and inserting the phrase "pursuant to § 32-702(d) or § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(e) Section 16-913(a) is amended by striking the phrase "under § 32-702(d)" and inserting the phrase "under § 32-702(d) or § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(f) Section 16-916(b) is amended by striking the phrase "in accordance with § 32-702(d)" and inserting the phrase "in accordance with § 32-702(d) or § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(g) Section 16-920 is amended as follows:

(1) Strike the phrase "or granting an absolute divorce," and insert the phrase "granting an absolute divorce, or terminating a domestic partnership," in its place.

(2) Strike the phrase "bonds of matrimony" and insert the phrase "bonds of matrimony or domestic partnership" in its place.

Sec. 3. The Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-701 et seq.), is amended as follows:

(a) Section 2 (D.C. Official Code § 32-701) is amended as follows:

(1) Paragraph (3) is amended by striking the phrase "and who has registered under section 3(a)." and inserting the phrase "and who has registered under section 3(a) or whose relationship is recognized under section 3(i)." in its place.

(2) Paragraph (4) is amended by striking the phrase "by registering in accordance with section 3." and inserting the phrase "by registering in accordance with section 3(a) or whose relationship is recognized under section 3(i)." in its place.

(b) Section 3 (D.C. Official Code § 32-702) is amended as follows:

(1) Subsection (a) is amended as follows:

(A) Paragraph (2) is amended by striking the word "and".

(B) Paragraph (3) is amended by striking the period and inserting the phrase "; and" in its place.

(C) A new paragraph (4) is added to read as follows:

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

(2) Subsection (d) is amended as follows:

(A) Paragraph (3) is amended to read as follows:

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

(B) A new paragraph (5) is added to read as follows:

"(5)(A) A domestic partnership may be terminated by judicial decree or judgment pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 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.".

(3) A new subsection (d-1) is added to read as follows:

"(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 of the District of Columbia Official Code.".

(4) Subsection (e) is amended by adding a new paragraph (4A) to read as follows:

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

(c) Section 9(b) (D.C. Official Code § 32-708(b)) is amended to read as follows:

"(b) The Mayor shall report annually to the Council on the number of domestic partnerships declared and terminated, including those terminated under section 3(d)(5).".

Sec. 4. Conforming amendments.

(a) Section 213(3) of the Mental Health Consumers’ Rights Protection Act of 2001, effective December 18, 2001 (D.C. Law 14-56; D.C. Official Code § 7-1231.13(3)), is amended by striking the phrase "section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d))" and inserting the phrase "section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d)), or D.C. Official Code § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(b) Section 21-2208(e) of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended by striking the phrase "in accordance with § 32-702(d))" and inserting the phrase "in accordance with § 32-702(d) or § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(c) Section 870(a)(3) of the An Act To establish a code of law for the District of Columbia, approved March 3, 1901 (31 Stat. 1331; D.C. Official Code § 22-501(a)(3)), is amended by striking the phrase "in accordance with section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d))" and inserting the phrase "in accordance with section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d)), or D.C. Official Code § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(d) An Act For the retirement of public-school teachers in the District of Columbia, approved August 7, 1946 (60 Stat. 878; D.C. Official Code § 38-2021.01 et seq.), is amended as follows:

(1) Section 5(b)(1) (D.C. Official Code § 38-2021.05(b)(1)), is amended by striking the phrase "with section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d))" and inserting the phrase "with section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d)), or D.C. Official Code § 16-904(e)" in its place.

(2) Section 9(b)(1) (D.C. Official Code § 38-2021.09(b)(1)) is amended by striking the phrase "with section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d))" and inserting the phrase "with section 3(d) of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d)), or D.C. Official Code § 16-904(e)" in its place.

Sec. 5. Chapter 80 of Title 29 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations is amended as follows:

(a) Section 8002 (29 DCMR § 8002) is amended as follows:

(1) Subsection 8002.1 is amended as follows:

(A) Paragraph (a) is amended by striking the semicolon and inserting the phrase "; or" in its place.

(B) Paragraph (b) is amended to read as follows:

"(b) The domestic partners marry one another or either domestic partner marries another person.".

(C) Paragraph (c) is repealed.

(2) Subsection 8002.2 is amended by striking the phrase "8002.1(c)" wherever it appears and inserting the phrase "8002.3(c)(3)" in its place.

(3) Subsection 8002.3 is amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 8002.3. (a) A domestic partnership may also be terminated, with or without the consent of both partners, by filing a termination of domestic partnership statement with the Registrar.

"(b) If both partners consent to the termination of domestic partnership, both shall declare that the partnership is to be terminated, and both shall sign the termination of domestic partnership statement.

"(c) If only one (1) person is taking action to terminate a domestic partnership, the person filing for termination of domestic partnership shall make the following declarations:

"(1) That the domestic partnership is to be terminated; and

"(2) That a copy of the termination of domestic partnership statement has been served on the other domestic partner by the following methods, if the location of the domestic partner is known:

"(A) By prepaid mail; or

"(B) By personal service on the other person or a person over the age of sixteen (16) who resides with the person; and

"(3) If the other domestic partner has abandoned the domestic partnership, that the other domestic partner permanently departed the mutual residence at least six (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 six (6) months preceding the filing of the termination statement.".

(4) A new section 8002.3a is added to read as follows:

"8002.3a A domestic partnership may also be terminated by judicial decree or judgment as provided in D.C. Official Code § 16-904(e) and D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d)(5) and shall take effect as provided in D.C. Official Code § 16-920.".

(5) Section 8002.4 is amended to read as follows:

"8002.4 A termination of domestic partnership statement filed pursuant to § 8002.3(b), (c)(1), or (c)(2) shall become effective six (6) months after the date the statement is filed with the Registrar. A termination of domestic partnership statement filed pursuant to § 8002.3(c)(3) shall become effective when the statement is filed. While the termination of domestic partnership is pending, all benefits shall continue to both domestic partners. While the termination of domestic partnership is pending, neither partner may apply for a new certificate of domestic partnership.".

(b) Section 8006 (29 DCMR § 8006) is amended by adding a new subsection 8006.2a to read as follows:

"8006.2a The Director shall coordinate with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to ensure that all terminations of domestic partnership made pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 16-904(e) and D.C. Official Code § 32-702(d)(5) are also recorded by the Department of Health and reported to the Council under § 8006.2.".

Sec. 6. Fiscal impact statement.

The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 602(c)(3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(3)).

Sec. 7. Effective date.

This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 60-day period of congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(2) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(2)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.