Domestic partnerships in California are becoming more common, as are same-sex marriages. Some couples decide to enter into a domestic partnership instead of a same-sex marriage for personal reasons.

However, in the eyes of California family law, a domestic partnership is a lot like a marriage. Registered domestic partnerships are defined as two adults agreeing to be in an intimate, committed and caring relationship, formalized with a filing of a Declaration of Domestic Partnership. This document is a lot like a certificate of marriage in so much that it demonstrates the legality of your relationship. This ensures you receive similar rights and benefits as a married couple would.

However, domestic partners in California do not enjoy all the benefits of marriage, as federal law has not quite yet recognized domestic partnerships in the same way it recognizes marriages.

This most often comes into play when it comes to certain retirement accounts. Retirement accounts have to adhere to certain federal guidelines regarding their division and these guidelines may not always recognize the rights a domestic partner will have. Luckily, this is a quickly changing part of federal government.

Receiving Spousal Support When Ending a Domestic Partnership

Even though domestic partnerships are not the exact same thing as a marriage, when it comes to spousal support, California family law courts have made sure that domestic partners have the same rights as spouses in a marriage.

It is important to note, if you are seeking to terminate your domestic partnership by simply filing a notice of termination of domestic partnership, you will not be eligible to receive spousal support. To receive spousal support, in this case called partners support, you must file for divorce and request support in the same way a married couple would by going through the California superior court.

You will file a request for order, which essentially requests the court order your partner to pay you support during, if it is temporary, or after the divorce. The same considerations when calculating this support will apply and the same general guidelines for length of the support order will be used. Your two incomes, your financial need, the status quo of your marital lifestyle, your debts and your assets will all be taken into consideration, along with several other contributing factors. However, your status of married couple or domestic partners will not affect the calculation.

Are you in the Los Angeles or Beverley Hills area and have questions about domestic partnerships and spousal support? Certified Family Law Specialist Steven Fernandez can provide extensive experience handling complex spousal support issues.

Serving Los Angeles County, attorney Steven Fernandez will provide respectful and efficient counsel to help you obtain a favorable post-divorce outcome. Call our office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.