When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order a spouse or a domestic partner to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month. This is called “spousal support” for married couples and “partner support” in domestic partnerships. It is sometimes also called “alimony.”
An order for spousal or partner support to be legally established and officially start, there must be a court case.
A spouse or domestic partner can ask the judge to make a spousal or partner support order in the following types of cases:
Divorce, legal separation, or annulment; or
A domestic violence restraining order.
You can ask for spousal or partner support to be paid while your case is going on. This is called a “temporary spousal support order” or a “temporary partner support order.” Support can also be ordered once the divorce or legal separation becomes final, as part of the final divorce or separation judgment. Once the case becomes final, it is called “permanent (or long-term) spousal or partner support.”
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