BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 681
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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 681 (Melendez and Skinner)
          As Amended July 8, 2013
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |     |(April 11,      |SENATE: |37-0 |(August 19,    |
          |           |     |2013)           |        |     |2013)          |
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                       (vote not relevant)

          Original Committee Reference:    PUB.S.  

           SUMMARY  :  Requires the court, when making an award of spousal  
          support, to consider either parties' history of domestic  
          violence against either of the parties' children.  

           The Senate amendments  delete the Assembly version of this bill,  
          and instead require the court, when making an award of spousal  
          support, to consider a history of domestic violence against  
          either of the parties' children.  

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Allows a court to order one party to a dissolution or legal  
            separation to pay spousal support to the other party for a  
            period of time that the court determines is just and  
            reasonable, as provided.  

          2)Requires the court, when determining whether to award spousal  
            support, to consider specified circumstances, including a  
            documented history of domestic violence and any criminal  
            convictions of an abusive spouse.  In addition to the  
            specified factors, authorizes the court to consider any other  
            factors that the court determines are just and equitable in  
            determining a spousal support award.

          3)Provides, in addition to any other remedy, when a spouse is  
            convicted of attempting to murder the other spouse, or  
            soliciting the murder of the other spouse, the convicted  
            spouse shall be prohibited from receiving any temporary or  
            permanent award of spousal, medical, life or other insurance  
            benefits or payments from the injured spouse. 

          4)Provides, in addition to any other remedy authorized by law,  








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            that when a spouse is convicted of attempting to murder the  
            other spouse, or of soliciting the murder of that spouse, the  
            injured spouse is entitled to all the community property  
            interest in the retirement and pension benefits of the injured  
            spouse.  

          5)Provides that in any proceeding for dissolution of a marriage,  
            where there is a criminal conviction for a violent sexual  
            felony perpetrated by one spouse against the other, an award  
            of spousal support to the convicted spouse is prohibited.   
            Authorizes the court, when one spouse is convicted of a  
            violent sexual felony against the other, to order attorney  
            fees be covered out of community property assets, and provides  
            that the injured spouse is entitled to 100% of his or her  
            interest in pension or retirement benefits. 

          6)Creates a rebuttable presumption against an award for  
            temporary or permanent spousal support to a spouse convicted  
            of domestic violence against the other spouse within five  
            years of filing for a dissolution of the marriage, or any time  
            thereafter. 
           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :  This bill is a response to a recent Los Angeles case.  
           In 2007, petitioner 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 the  
          petitioner to pay her ex-husband $1300 per month in support.   
          Last year, her ex-husband 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, he seeks to have the spousal support reinstated, and is  
          asking for $33,000 in past due support.

          For the most part, spousal support is discretionary.  However,  
          existing law specifically restricts a court's ability to award  
          spousal support in a few situations.  First, when a spouse is  
          convicted of attempted murder of a spouse, no award of spousal  
          support is available to the convicted spouse.  Secondly, 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.  When a spouse is  
          convicted of domestic violence against the other, a presumption  
          is created against an award of spousal support to the convicted  








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          spouse.  Finally, in ordering a spousal support award, a court  
          must consider specified factors, including a documented history  
          of domestic violence and "any other factors the court determines  
          are just and equitable."  In addition, the law allows a support  
          order to be modified or terminated at any time the court  
          determines to be necessary.  

          This bill specifically ensures that a court consider any  
          documented evidence of abuse against either of the parties'  
          children when considering a spousal support order.  

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916)  
          319-2334 


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