From the Editor – Eligibility

By The Honorable William Houston Brown (Retired)

Unmarried domestic partners ineligible. Looking to California law, which did not “view domestic partnership and marriage as one and the same,” the court distinguished unmarried, same-sex domestic partners from “spouses,” holding that “domestic partners cannot be considered ‘spouses’ under the Bankruptcy Code” for eligibility to file a joint petition under § 302(a). Although California law recognized substantial legal equality between domestic partners and spouses, that law did not make domestic partnership a marriage. While same-sex marriage is legal in California, these individuals chose not to marry but . . .

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