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Spousal support does not mean voluntary spousal dependence

Many people have a passion in life, something in which they may become extremely invested. At some point, one must look at their passion objectively and decide whether it is something from which they may derive an income, or whether it is something they should pursue outside of working hours. A recent case from another state highlights a situation where a wife made an application for a substantial increase in spousal support to allow her to pursue unpaid campaigning for a cause dear to her heart. California readers may be aware of this interesting case. 

The couple married in 1997 and have one daughter. They separated in 2010, at which time the wife began cohabiting with another man. She lived with her new partner for some years, and her estranged husband paid her $650 a month in support. This year, upon the break up of her new relationship, she applied for an increase in her support payment of more than triple the amount. Described as "willfully unemployed," the wife reportedly eschews any suggestion that she should enter some form of paid work in order to support herself and her daughter.

She is a passionate pro-life campaigner and is reported to spend much time in protest outside the offices of parenthood clinics. In one email to her husband, she also stated that her goal in life life is to provide her qualified knowledge as a nutritionist, free of charge to those who need it most. She is adamant that it is morally wrong to do otherwise. With these factors in mind, a judge noted that while she is free to campaign and help others, her insistence that her estranged husband fund her refusal to earn a living was unacceptable; a ruling was made that the payment will remain at its current level of $650.

While principles are important to uphold, this cannot be to the exclusion of one's day to day responsibilities. Residents in California who are going through a divorce and find themselves in a similar position may benefit by documenting the other spouse's financial and employment arrangements. Seeking advice and guidance on the level of spousal support that is appropriate to the circumstances will allow one to ensure that the amount they pay is fair and equitable.

Source: New York Daily News, "Judge rules woman can continue protesting abortion clinics, but can't demand more spousal support", Dareh Gregorian, Oct. 29, 2014

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