BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 681
          Author:   Melendez (R) and Skinner (D)
          Amended:  7/8/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 7/2/13
          AYES:  Walters, Anderson, Corbett, Jackson, Leno, Monning
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Evans

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  58-11, 4/11/13 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Spousal support

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill requires a court to consider as a factor in  
          awarding spousal support, domestic violence perpetrated by  
          either party against either party's child, as specified.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1.Provides that spousal support is awardable without regard to  
            the merits or procedural posture of the case, and torts and  
            criminal acts are dealt with in their respective courts.  

          2.Requires courts to order spousal support in an amount, and for  
            a period of time that the court determines is just and  
            reasonable, based on the standard of living established during  
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            the marriage.  In making spousal support awards, the court is  
            required to consider, among other factors, the marketable  
            skills of each party, the parties' ability to pay spousal  
            support, the needs of each party, the assets of each party, a  
            history of domestic violence between the parties, including  
            convictions resulting from that violence, and the ability of  
            each party to engage in employment considering the interests  
            of dependent children. 

          3.Provides that courts are given discretion in determining  
            spousal support awards because of the complexity of the  
            factors that must be considered and the individual  
            circumstances of the parties and families involved.  

          4.Restricts a court's ability to award spousal support only in a  
            handful of situations:

             A.   When a spouse is convicted of attempted murder of a  
               spouse, no award of spousal support is available to the  
               convicted spouse.  

             B.   When a spouse is convicted of a violent sexual felony  
               against the other spouse, as specified, the convicted  
               spouse is prohibited from receiving an award of spousal  
               support.  

             C.   When a spouse is convicted of domestic violence against  
               the other, a presumption is created against an award of  
               spousal support to the convicted spouse.  

          1.Provides that court may consider "any other factors the court  
            determines are just and equitable," when ordering a spousal  
            support award.  Under this consideration, the court arguably  
            has the authority to take into account the criminal conviction  
            of a spouse when determining what is a just and equitable  
            spousal support award.  In addition, existing law allows a  
            support order to be modified or terminated at any time the  
            court determines to be necessary.  

          This bill requires a court to consider as a factor in awarding  
          spousal support, domestic violence perpetrated by either party  
          against either party's child, as specified.

           Background

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          This bill is a response to a Los Angeles case concerning Carol  
          Abar.  In 2007, Carol filed for divorce after her daughter  
          disclosed that her step-father had been raping her for years.   
          The court reasoned that in determining spousal support it could  
          not rely on mere allegations of abuse, and ordered Carol to pay  
          $1300 per month to Abar in support.  Last year, Abar plead  
          guilty to one of the five rape charges and was sentenced to more  
          than a year in jail, during which time spousal support payments  
          were suspended.  Now out of jail, Abar seeks to have the spousal  
          support reinstated, and is asking for $33,000 in past due  
          support.

           Prior Legislation

           AB 1522 (Atkins, Chapter 718, Statutes of 2012) prohibited an  
          award of spousal support to a spouse convicted of a violent  
          sexual felony against the other spouse, as specified.

          AB 2674 (Block, Chapter 65, Statutes of 2010) prohibits an award  
          of spousal support to a spouse convicted of soliciting the  
          murder of the other spouse, as specified.

          AB 16 (Rainey, Chapter 364, Statutes of 1995) provides that when  
          a spouse is convicted of attempting to murder the other spouse,  
          as specified, the injured spouse shall be entitled to 100% of  
          the community property interest in his or her retirement and  
          pension benefits, and a prohibition of specified support or  
          insurance benefits from the injured spouse to the other spouse,  
          as specified.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  
           No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  7/8/13)

          California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
          California District Attorneys Association
          California State Association of Counties
          California State Sheriffs' Association
          Crime Victims United of California
          Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
          National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter
          Riverside County District Attorney

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          Women of Worth

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author:

               In cases where a spouse is convicted of a violent sexual  
               felony against the other spouse, the victimized spouse is  
               legally exempt from providing spousal support in a marriage  
               dissolution proceeding.  However, in cases where the victim  
               is the spouse's child, the law makes no exception for the  
               not-guilty spouse in providing spousal support to the  
               convicted spouse.


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  58-11, 4/11/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Allen, Bigelow, Bloom, Bocanegra, Bonta,  
            Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez,  
            Conway, Cooley, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Fong,  
            Frazier, Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell,  
            Gray, Grove, Hagman, Hall, Holden, Jones, Jones-Sawyer,  
            Linder, Logue, Maienschein, Mansoor, Medina, Melendez,  
            Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Perea, V.  
            Manuel Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Torres,  
            Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wilk, Williams
          NOES:  Alejo, Ammiano, Bonilla, Eggman, Levine, Mitchell,  
            Nazarian, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Wieckowski
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Atkins, Blumenfield, Chesbro, Fox, Harkey,  
            Roger Hernández, Lowenthal, Patterson, Yamada, John A. Pérez,  
            Vacancy


          AL:nl  7/9/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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