Lena Velez (plaintiff) and Krista Smith (defendant) were in a domestic-partnership relationship. The couple began their relationship in 1989. In 1994 and 1996, Velez and Smith filed declarations of domestic partnership with local authorities in their city and county. Velez and Smith publicly represented that they were in a domestic partnership. Velez and Smith purchased both real and personal property together and maintained joint bank accounts during the domestic partnership. Velez received health insurance through Smith’s employer, and Smith listed Velez as a dependent on Smith’s tax returns. Neither Velez nor Smith ever filed a declaration of domestic partnership with the state of California. In 2004, Velez filed a petition to dissolve the domestic partnership. In 2005, Velez amended the petition requesting, among other things, a division of property acquired during the partnership. Smith filed a motion to strike the amended petition, because the court did not have jurisdiction. The trial court granted Smith’s motion, and Velez appealed the trial court’s ruling.