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California divorce bill stops alimony when child sexually abused

Parents who are married usually consider their children to be their top priority. This generally does not change even after the couple decides to call it quits and file for a divorce in California or in any other state. When this happens the divorcees will have to come to some type of agreement regarding child support and spousal support. However, when one parent has been convicted of sex crimes committed against his or her child, the other parent may find it repugnant that the convicted parent would still be able to ask for spousal support payments.

Recently one California lawmaker has attempted to prevent this from happening by introducing a bill which would prohibit a divorced parent from receiving spousal support payments if he or she has been convicted of a sex crime against a child of the marriage. The lawmaker was inspired to push forward with the proposed legislation after seeing a news report about a divorce case in which a father was convicted of raping his daughter. The father had taken his ex-wife to court for alimony despite his conviction.

The judge who was assigned the case had seen the news report about the father's story on television and promptly denied the man's request. However, if the judge had not seen the news story on television he may not have come to the same decision, since under current law the court does not take into consideration child abuse when deciding alimony. Instead, the current law only takes spousal abuse into consideration when making alimony rulings.

Although most are relieved that the lawmaker has decided to take action to stop this loophole in the law, the proposed legislation has yet to be passed. Therefore, a parent who files for divorce in California may still face the possibility that his or her spouse who has been convicted of a sex crime against a child of the marriage could end up receiving spousal support. Fortunately, there may be other legal arguments which could prevent a spouse from being awarded alimony.

Source: CBS2, "CBS2 Report Inspires Legislation That Would Prohibit Spousal Support In Child Sex Abuse Cases," June 21, 2013

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