Will the Court Consider Domestic Violence in Alimony Cases?

man with balled fist threatening woman

For many victims of domestic violence, escaping their spouse may seem impossible. However, if you can secure a divorce, you may worry about whether or not you will have to pay spousal support to your abuser. In these instances, California courts must consider several factors, including whether or not abuse was present in the marriage. Keep reading to discover how domestic violence and alimony cases are handled and why you need experienced Los Angeles domestic violence attorneys to assist you during this process.

How Is Spousal Support Determined?

It’s a common misconception that alimony is automatically awarded to the lower-earning spouse upon a divorce. However, a spouse who wishes to receive payments from their ex must request alimony. The courts must consider several elements when determining whether or not they will award spousal support. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The age and health of each spouse
  • How long the couple was married
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • How much each spouse contributed to the marriage, both financially and domestically
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Whether or not one spouse gave up their career to support the other
  • If any tax consequences could impact the decision

Does Domestic Violence Impact Alimony in California?

Victims of domestic abuse may worry that they must financially support their abuser after they exit the marriage. However, California law can prevent victims from being forced to relinquish their funds to their ex-spouse.

Generally, if someone is convicted of domestic abuse, whether it’s charged as a misdemeanor or felony, they will be barred from collecting spousal support from their victim if the divorce is filed within five years of the conviction. However, with a misdemeanor offense, there is a rebuttable presumption. Essentially, this gives the spouse the ability to present evidence to the court to have this decision overturned. This most commonly occurs in instances where both spouses have been convicted of abuse.

While there are laws in place for convicted abusers, the court will still consider allegations of abuse when no conviction has occurred. This is because the courts understand that victims may not have called the police during these events for fear of retaliation. However, it can be more challenging to prove without proof.

The courts often try to avoid ordering an abused spouse to make alimony payments to their ex, as this can be another form of control someone has over their victim.

As you can see, many considerations must be taken into account when a convicted abuser requests alimony from their victim. That’s why consulting the compassionate and competent team at the Zitser Family Law Group, APC, is vital. Our team will examine your circumstances to fight for your rights during your divorce. Reach out to our firm today to learn how we can assist you during these challenging times.

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