National partnership agreements in California are treated in much the same way as pre-marriage agreements. The same sections of code apply to the creation and applicability of national partnership agreements as to pre-marriage agreements between same-sex couples and married same-sex couples. The term is not used consistently, which creates some inter-judicial confusion. Some jurisdictions, such as Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. states of California, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and for couples over 62 within Washington, use the term “domestic partnership” to refer to what other jurisdictions call civil union, registered partnership or registered partnership. Other jurisdictions use the term as originally conceived to refer to an interpersonal status created by local and regional governments that offers a very limited range of rights and responsibilities. Many states recognize, through their judicial systems, cohabitation agreements and common law partnership agreements between two partners. These are de facto national partnerships that protect both parties and allow recognition of their relationships through common ownership and judicial recognition.  Beyond financial concerns, a national partnership contract can help define other parameters of the relationship. Many couples never manage to discuss daily affairs— let alone put them on paper— and the creation of a legal document defining the relationship could help clarify and strengthen the relationship. While domestic partnerships and marriages identify the two partners as a couple in a relationship, they offer radically different rights and benefits. In some legal systems, national partners who live together over a long period of time but are not allowed to marry may be entitled to legal protection in the form of a national partnership. Some national partners may enter into non-marital relations contracts to agree, orally or in writing, on issues related to demining, assistance obligations and other similar issues that are joint with marriage.
(See the effects of marriage and Palimony.) Beyond the agreements, the registration of relationships in national partnership registers allows the jurisdiction to formally recognize national partnerships as valid relationships with limited rights.