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I got a tenure-track academic offer in the US.

I am wondering how common/likely is to get the University to do a non-academic spousal hire for my girlfriend. All the documents provided by my institution use the word "partner" which seems to suggest that it is not needed to be married.

Do you think that being married is typically an (unwritten) necessary condition?

Do you think that asking for help for finding a job for my girlfriend is only possible during negotiation, or I could potentially ask for this later?

Do you think it is possible, instead of getting a position for my girlfriend, getting a graduate school position for her?

If in the future we will break up, could this potentially affect my reputation with the department?

I guess most of these questions have an "official" answer and a "in reality" answer, but I would like to hear other people's opinion.

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    Keep in mind also the visa limitations of your options. US visas don't allow de facto couples to apply for joint visas. So if she wants to come with you on a permanent basis she will need to have her own work/student visa. – Herman Toothrot Mar 27 at 6:37
  • They employed you... That does not mean they must provide employment for a partner - but you may be lucky... – Solar Mike Mar 27 at 7:08
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    I'm guessing the documents you refer are for benefits, and generally will only allow "partner" to apply to spouse or some comparable legal status for same-sex unions. – A Simple Algorithm Mar 27 at 9:21
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    I think the whole concept is rare in the US. I think your chances are just about nil. – Buffy Mar 27 at 10:25
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    This is a detail, but I wondered if English is your first language. If not, here's something it took me a long time to learn about English culture: marriage is still the norm in US/Canada (English part) and girlfriend/boyfriend refer mostly to short term relationship. Thus, when I talk about my boyfriend, I use the word 'partner'. – Emilie Mar 27 at 12:10
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I am wondering how common/likely is to get the University to do a non-academic spousal hire for my girlfriend. All the documents provided by my institution use the word "partner" which seems to suggest that it is not needed to be married. Do you think that being married is typically an (unwritten) necessary condition?

Only your institution will know for sure, but it certainly does not seem unreasonable to ask. Given the wording I would be cautiously optimistic. However, visa might be a problem (as Herman mentions in a comment). The university maybe does not care much about your relationship status when finding a position for your partner, but they may care about having to sponsor a visa (this costs additional money).

Do you think that asking for help for finding a job for my girlfriend is only possible during negotiation, or I could potentially ask for this later?

You should get all discussions about benefits (and spousal hire is a pretty major one) out of the way during negotiation.

Do you think it is possible, instead of getting a position for my girlfriend, getting a graduate school position for her?

Assuming your girlfriend is reasonably qualified finding a graduate school position is probably easier than a regular job. However, an additional challenge may be if she would like to attend graduate school in your own department - then conflict of interest rules may kick in.

If in the future we will break up, could this potentially affect my reputation with the department?

Unless "in the future" is like one month after coming to the US, I doubt that the department will care very much.

  • +1, regarding partner/marriage, I'll add: I suspect (many) universities to avoid discrimination based upon relationship type. (This will certainly be country specific.) But, perhaps I'm too forward thinking on this. As @xLeitix writes, only your institution will know, so ask. – user2768 Mar 27 at 8:16
  • For the last point, I think it's important to consider the seriousness of the relationship. Given OP is asking, I'm a bit concerned that this might mean the relationship is less developed than warrants asking a university to pull strings for (alternatively, OP could also just be refreshingly pragmatic). – Bryan Krause Mar 27 at 20:47
  • @BryanKrause I would leave this decision up to OP (and, I guess, so will the university). If it's important enough for him to bring up in a negotiation, it's a serious relationship to him. Also, every relationship (even a marriage) has a non-trivial chance to go south in the foreseeable future, especially if a life-changing event (like a move to a different country / continent) is in the mix. – xLeitix Mar 29 at 9:58
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Do you think that being married is typically an (unwritten) necessary condition?

Only at universities with a religious affiliation. Secular universities will not care.

Do you think that asking for help for finding a job for my girlfriend is only possible during negotiation, or I could potentially ask for this later?

There are only two situations where you can request something expensive (like a job for your girlfriend) and have a chance to get it:

  1. Before you agree to take the job.
  2. When you have been offered a job by another employer which is better than your current job.

The chance of success is not so great because your girlfriend's salary will be very expensive. It depends on the institution's needs and the number of other credible job applicants.

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