Those who follow me on Huffington Post and elsewhere are aware that I am an advocate for the reform of laws concerning alimony or spousal support. I have written on the topic in the past, most recently last October (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fred-silberberg/alimony-reform-revisited_b_5991334.html). At that time, I wrote about efforts underway to reform these laws in other states, and lamented about the lack of any initiative to do so being undertaken by the California legislature. In my almost thirty years of practicing family law, I have listened to clients complaining about the fact that they will be saddled with an unending obligation to pay support to their ex-spouses because they were married over ten years. In almost every instance, I have advised them that they need to take the issue up with the legislature. I am unaware of a client who has ever followed through on that advice.
However, I recently learned of someone (not a former client) who is taking action to see that laws regarding the duration of spousal support are reformed in California. Steve Clark is a resident of Orange County who, after his own divorce, decided that the law needed to be changed. To accomplish that, Steve wrote his own proposed bill seeking to end the concept of “lifetime” alimony. He worked with the Office of Legislative Counsel to ensure that his bill would be compliant with the California Constitution. He has created a website which has information regarding his proposed bill (www.calalimonyreform.org) and how you can join the effort to support it. Steve needs 365,880 signatures from registered California voters by November 2, 2015 in order to have the bill placed on the ballot for the November 2016 general election.
Steve has been getting the media’s attention with his bill. On May 20th, the Los Angeles Times did an article on Steve and his quest to reform the law (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-alimony-initiative-california-20150520-story.html). Steve is hosting a number of “petition signing events” which are listed on his website. If you are interested in seeing these outdated laws changed, you may want to check Steve’s website and sign his petition. It’s refreshing to see that someone is actually taking the initiative of getting these laws changed in California.