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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Spousal Support > What Is The Difference Between Spousal Support And Domestic Partner Support?

What Is The Difference Between Spousal Support And Domestic Partner Support?


When you are seeking spousal support, or when your ex has indicated that they plan to seek support, you are likely to have many questions about how the spousal support process works in California. If you conduct some initial research, you may learn that California law recognizes both “spousal support” and “domestic partner support.” You may be wondering what the difference is between these types of support, and when they apply to different family law cases. The short answer is that whether a person seeks or receives spousal support or domestic partner support depends upon the legal relationship that exists between the parties. Our San Jose spousal support attorneys can provide you with more information, and we can answer any questions you have about spousal support or domestic partner support in California.

Understanding Spousal Support Versus Domestic Partner Support 

What is the difference between spousal support and domestic partner support? In terms of the way in which the amount and duration of support is determined, there is no difference between the two. Rather, the only differences are in name (“spousal” support or “domestic partner” support) and the relationship between the parties. To be clear, spousal support can be awarded when married parties separate or divorce, whereas domestic partner support can be awarded when two parties in a domestic partnership separate or divorce.

The types of support are described in terms that refer to the relationship between the parties seeking and paying support.

How Spousal Support and Domestic Partner Support Are Awarded 

Whether a party is seeking support after separating from a partner with whom they are in a domestic partnership or from a partner with whom they are in a marriage, the court will consider different issues in determining whether to award both temporary support and permanent or long-term support.

For temporary support, the California Courts explains that the “purpose of temporary support is to help a spouse or partner continue to live at the same level that he or she experienced before separation.” However, temporary support is only designed to last for the amount of time between the separation and the court determining whether long-term or permanent support should be awarded. In a divorce case or in a case to dissolve a domestic partnership, it is possible for one of the parties to ask for spousal or partner support “as part of the final judgment of your case,” according to the California Courts. These orders are also designed to provide necessary support to the party seeking it. In determining whether to award long-term spousal or domestic partner support, the court will consider a wide range of factors, such as:

  • Length of the parties’ marriage or domestic partnership;
  • Standard of living during the marriage or domestic partnership;
  • Age and health of the parties;
  • Effects on one of the spouses of providing child care or supporting the other spouse; and
  • Evidence of domestic violence.

These are just some of the factors the court will consider. You should seek advice from a lawyer about the other factors that may be relevant to your case.

Contact a San Jose Spousal Support Attorney 

If you need help with spousal or domestic partner support, you should get in touch with one of the experienced San Jose spousal support lawyers at Foster Hsu, LLP today.




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