A Huntington Beach man is taking another shot at reforming California’s alimony law, this time by championing a ballot initiative that would restrict payments to former spouses to a maximum of five years following a divorce or legal separation.
Steve Clark, a software engineer and divorced father, said this week that, had he known 25 years ago there was a possibility he would have to pay alimony — also known as spousal support — for the rest of his life, he wouldn’t have gotten married. He said he pays his ex-wife, Cindy, $1,000 a month and is expected to do so for the rest of his life because of a judge’s orders.
Under state law, former spouses may receive alimony for a “reasonable period of time,” which can be half the length of the marriage or partnership. However, for partnerships lasting 10 years or more, judges can exercise their discretion and not set an end date for spousal support.
Clark’s proposed reform initiative seeks to “tackle the most egregious aspect of family law, which currently creates a potential lifelong obligation for the payor,” according to the website for his nonprofit, CalAlimonyReform.org. He lists self-reliance, accountability, rights, roles and entitlement as his organization’s tenets.
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