Family Code Section 3600 stated, “[d]uring the pendency of any proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties … the court may order (a) the husband or wife to pay any amount that is necessary for the support of the wife or husband, consistent with the requirements of subdivisions (i) and (m) of Section 4320 and Section 4325.” These subdivivisions require the court to determine whether there has been a history of domestic violence between the parties in ordering spousal support.
Section 4320 (i) requires the court to determine whether there is any documented evidence of any history of domestic violence between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.
Section 4325 provides that “(a) In any proceeding for dissolution of marriage where there is a criminal conviction for an act of domestic violence perpetrated by one spouse against the other spouse entered by the court within five years prior to the filing of the dissolution proceeding, or at any time thereafter, there shall be a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof that any award of temporary or permanent spousal support to the abusive spouse otherwise awardable pursuant to the standards of this part should not be made. [¶] (b) The court may consider documented evidence of a convicted spouse’s history as a victim of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, perpetrated by the other spouse, or any other factors the court deems just and equitable, as conditions for rebutting this presumption. [¶] (c) The rebuttable presumption created in this section may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.”
These statutes and California’s public policy are all against awarding spousal support to a perpetrator of domestic violence. Indeed, the law prohibits awarding spousal support to an individual who has been convicted of an act of domestic violence within five years from the date the divorce petition is filed. However, even when there is no such conviction, the court will examine evidence pertaining to a history of domestic violence between the parties in making the spousal support determination.
****The opinion above is not intended to be legal advice and absolutely does not create any attorney-client relationship between its author and the readers. Please consult an attorney for information or advice specific to your legal issue.****
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