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How partner support works

If a same-sex couple has been living together in a domestic partnership, and they decide to separate, one of the partners can request partner support. This financial support may be temporary or long-term, and it helps the partner live close to the same lifestyle manner that he or she had in the relationship.

After a request for support, a judge will examine various factors to determine if there is a need for support and, if so, how much support the other partner has to pay as well as the duration of the support.

Factors considered for partner support

According to the California Courts, the judge considers the standard of living and the earning capacity of each spouse. If the partner requesting support is not working, the judge determines if the partner has marketable skills and, if not, examines what it would take for the partner to get the training or education to make a living. The judge also examines the financial impact if the partner had quit working to raise children.

If there is evidence of domestic violence in the relationship, the judge also takes into consideration the emotional distress that the abused partner potentially experienced.

Considerations for the end of support payments

If the judge awards partner support, the length of the relationship is a large factor in how long the support will last. For partnerships that lasted shorter than ten years, generally, the support duration is half the relationship length.

For domestic partnerships that lasted ten or more years, the judge generally does not set an end date for support payments. In that situation, support ends when the person receiving the payments enters into another partnership or marriage, or when either partner dies.