Under the law of California, Florida and many states, the obligation to pay alimony ends when the receiving spouse remarries, among other possibilities.
A divorcing California man agreed to pay his wife a certain sum of money each month as alimony.
After their divorce, his ex-wife registered her domestic partnership with another woman.
Believing the registered domestic partnership to be equivalent to marriage, the man thought he was released from the obligation to pay alimony.
But a California judge disagreed, ruling that the domestic partnership is mere cohabitation and not a marriage.
The man plans to appeal the court’s order that he continue to pay alimony.
The ruling highlights one of the less publicized impacts of the difference between marriage and civil unions or domestic partnerships.