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Unregistered domestic partner support

Portland, OR |

My ex partner is going to sue me for support, even though we are not registered in the state of Oregon as legal partners. We were together for 21 years, and she says that under LGBT act, that she can sue me for support. She is on SSI. She can not work due to her physical disablities. Is this true ?

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Attorney answers 4


I don't know whether it's true that your partner is receiving Social Security or that she can't work; but it is not true that she can successfully sue you for support. If you were not registered as spouses or domestic partners, there can be no successful spousal support claim. She might still have a claim to equitable distribution of any property that you acquired together during your relationship, though. You should consult with an attorney in private if this is an issue.

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Oregon law authorizes an award of spousal support between domestic partners only if the domestic partnership was entered into as provided by Oregon law. If the domestic partnership was not registered in Oregon, then no spousal support would be available. However, if your domestic partnership was entered into in a different state, you will need to check with the laws of that state to determine if such support is available in that jurisdiction.

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Since you were not registered domestic partners - the LGBT equivalent of marriage in Oregon - she does not have a claim of support any more than any unmarried couple. However, case law provides for division of property in cases of domestic partnerships where the partners are not married or not registered, and the division of property would equitable rather than necessarily equal. It could be equal, but not necessarily so. You should consult with an attorney, in a private and confidential setting, to determine your rights and responsibilities in your particular case, as well as to get an idea what a likely division of property might be.


She cannot come after you for support unless you Registered your relationship in OR.

However, there are a few things for you to note. One - did you register in another state?

Two - if you were together for 21 years, you may have amassed certain property that will need to be divided. This is to be done "equitably" rather than "equally." This can arguably become a pseudo-support mechanism in the right circumstances. This isn't something you need to be afraid of, but you should be aware of it in making any important strategic decisions.

Three - what county are you in? Certain counties' Judges are more progressive than others. It's something to consider.

You'll probably want to talk to an attorney to get more-specific advice regarding your situation.

21 years is a long time. Take some steps to protect yourself and your future as you move forward. Best of luck to you.

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