Legislators propose linking abuse to alimony requests

Riverside CaliforniaThe Californian Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a draft bill that would require courts to take domestic violence or abuse into account when considering applications for alimony (maintenance).

Members of the Committee heard testimony from Carol Abar of Riverside, the Press-Enterpise reports. She divorced her husband of 18 years in 2009 after their daughter told that her that he had been sexually abusing her for many years. However, after the divorce he was ordered to pay him alimony because she earned more money than her former husband and her allegations had not been proven in court.

She paid him a total of $22,000 before he was jailed, after pleading guilty, in February last year.

Abar told the Committee: “I cried every time I had to write that check because of what he did to my daughter.”

On his release, however, her former husband then applied for resumption of the alimony.

In May, her former husband’s attorney insisted that he was still entitled to the payments despite his jail sentence:

“Under the law, he is entitled to some relief from the higher income-producing spouse, so that the marital standard of living can be maintained.”

But this argument was rejected by a judge, who told the attorney to “to tell his client that he’s wasting his time and money.”

A scheduled hearing was cancelled.

Carol Abar told the Committee members:

“I’m here to help other people so they don’t have to go through the same thing, whether it be a man or a woman going through it.”

Republican assemblywoman Melissa Melendez tabled the draft bill with Democrat opponent Nancy Skinner, who reportedly shares her outrage at the case. Melendez said she hoped the new draft bill would prevent similar situations in the future:

“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family. It’s adding insult to injury.”

The draft bill will now go before the full Californian Senate.

Photo of Riverside by Qwerty510 via Wikipedia

 

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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2 comments

Stephanie Bamberger - July 3, 2013 at 6:42pm

Family Code 4320 et seq. already provides that the court must not award spousal support to a spouse who is convicted of sexual assault against the other spouse and there is a presumption against awarding spousal support to a spouse convicted of domestic violence. This bill would add that a spouse convicted of sexual assault on a child shall not be awarded spousal support. I think the issue with this bill is that as currently worded does not specify that the child victim must be a child of the marriage. While I sympathize with Carol Abar and her situation, I think the current wording of the bill needs to be more specific.

Paul - July 3, 2013 at 11:04pm

I suppose it is a way of doubling the punishment against somebody. What about mothers who induce alienation in their children? They don’t even get punished once let alone lose their alimony.

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