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)


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        |COMMITTEE VOTE:  |10-0 |(August 27, 2013)   |RECOMMENDATION: |concur    |
        |                 |     |                    |                |          |
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        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  








                                                                AB 681
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          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, 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, a 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 $1,300 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  








                                                                AB 681
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        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 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 


        FN: 0001902