Fathers and Families helped introduce SB 481, a California bill to curb the common family court practice of issuing “double dipping” spousal support orders.
SB 481 will correct an inequity in California law wherein the same stream of income is counted twice in a family law action — once for purposes of valuing that income stream as a division of property, then again for spousal/partner support purposes when the spouse/partner receives the income in the future. Under this bill, family law courts would have to consider the impact of double counting of income when making a spousal/partner support order.
SB 481 comes on the heels of SB 1482, an alimony reform bill we helped pass last year. SB 1482 allows some alimony obligors to obtain court orders requiring vocational examinations for their exes and mandates that judges follow the exams’ findings when determining spousal support levels.
Syndicated California political columnist Dan Walters has written a column on SB 481 which has been published in the Sacramento Bee and a dozen other California newspapers. Walters writes:
Senate Bill 481 would require divorce court judges “to consider the extent to which income for support was already capitalized and paid to the other spouse in the division of community property, in order to avoid double counting the income when the result would be inequitable.”
Wright says it’s aimed at “double-dipping” for ex-spouses receiving alimony, and if enacted, the bill could result in lower alimony payments. While Wright has support from the State Bar, he has drawn strong opposition from feminist groups, renewing their old conflict with him over rules of the divorce game.
The National Organization for Women has come out against SB 481, and we’re embroiled in a major political battle in Sacramento over it. We’ve lined up a great deal of support from influential California political organizations who realize that this is not a gender issue, but is instead an issue of fairness.
We’ve helped build a consensus that reforming California’s spousal support system is best for all, including the many successful women business owners and executives who are sometimes exploited by unfair spousal support laws, just as men often have been.
Walters’ piece also covers our political battle over paternity fraud–to learn more, see Part II here.