A domestic partnership offers all of the protections of the law in the state of California without the hassle of marriage. When both parties decide that they want to make their relationship official, they can register with the state as long as they comply with the California Family Code section 297. By taking this step, the couple can realize the benefits of a domestic partnership that would otherwise be denied to them if they did not. Not only is filing beneficial, it also extends protections to each other and any children that are involved in the relationship.
A domestic couple that are living together but not registered with the state are at the mercy of the law. If one partner goes into the hospital, the hospital can deny visitation rights to the other due to there being no recognized partnership. In the situation where one partner passes, the other partner cannot partake in any of the legal benefits as a survivor. Those in a committed relationship have to ask themselves if going without a registered domestic partnership is worth the risk.