In the years since California permanently legalized same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage a nationwide right, we do not hear as much about as domestic partnerships in the news. But domestic partnerships had been available to same-sex partners since 1999 in California, and thus there are many couples who remain in domestic partnerships but have never taken the extra step of obtaining a marriage license. And when one or both partners in a domestic partnership eventually decide to end the partnership, the question often arises of whether one can request alimony (called spousal support in California) in the same way that a spouse in marriage could. The answer is yes, and partners who are potentially on either the receiving and the paying side of a spousal support request are encouraged to seek legal guidance regarding their options.
Temporary Spousal Support Works in a CA Domestic Partnership
The rules for spousal support in a domestic partnership are similar to those with regard to a marriage. A partner seeking spousal support can immediately seek a temporary support award by filing a request along with an action for a dissolution of the partnership or just after the other partner has filed the request for dissolution. In determining whether to award temporary spousal support, the judge overseeing the dissolution will usually incorporate both partners’ monthly income into a formula, which will provide a monthly or bi-monthly amount of spousal support that the higher-earning partner will be ordered to pay the lesser-earning spouse. This temporary spousal support will only be ordered for the duration of the time it takes to dissolve the partnership.
Ongoing Spousal Support Awards in CA
A partner, however, can also seek ongoing spousal support to be paid after the dissolution of the marriage. In determining whether to award ongoing spousal support, how much should be paid, and for how long, the judge will look at a number of factors. In addition to looking at each partner’s monthly incomes, other factors such as the economic needs of both partners, the lifestyle enjoyed during the partnership, the length of the partnership, the total assets and debts of each partner, and the contributions made by each partner to the partnership will be considered.
Because the cumulative amount of spousal support paid or received by a partner over the long-term can be quite significant, anyone seeking or responding to a request for spousal support should discuss options and legal strategies with an experienced California family law attorney.
Get Answers to Your Domestic Partnership Questions
At Kearney | Baker in Pasadena, we represent domestic partners and spouses through all aspects of the dissolution/termination process and will make sure that your rights are fully represented in all proceedings to work towards a fair and positive outcome in all aspects of a domestic partnership dissolution. To schedule a consultation regarding any questions about domestic partnerships in California, contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney | Baker today at 626-768-2945.