California Alimony Issues in the News

Alimony and California divorce have been much in the news lately, partly because of the recent passing of Michelle Triola, whose 1970s lawsuit against actor Lee Marvin established the concept of “palimony” in a 1979 California family law ruling. On a related topic, a story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week has sparked a nationwide conversation about the changing nature of alimony itself. The shifting nature of California alimony, California divorce and California family law issues are a reminder of the importance of having a skilled Southern California divorce lawyer in your corner when negotiating a potential legal minefield.

Triola made headlines more than 30 years ago when she sued Marvin for benefits similar to those a former spouse would be entitled to under California divorce law governing alimony and California community property. The 1979 California Supreme Court ruling allowing her suit to go forward established the concept of “palimony”, though Triola later lost her attempt to win ongoing financial support from Marvin.

The Journal article notes that alimony has traditionally been seen as a lifetime commitment, usually on the part of the man, after a divorce. Most people believe their divorce to be the final say on issues of alimony and support, but the article cites several instances of spouses returning to court, in some cases decades after the dissolution of a marriage, citing changed financial circumstances and demanding the alimony they initially waived. Several experts quoted in the article note that most American laws governing divorce and alimony date from the 1950s and 1960s, an era when single-income households were the norm and many fewer women has professional skills and careers than is the case today.

The Journal article points out that California is among the states with laws allowing for indefinite California alimony payments. These can continue even if the former spouse receiving them is working and no longer needs the financial support.

An experienced Orange County family law attorney can offer advice on Southern California divorce, alimony and even “palimony” issues. Consulting a Los Angeles divorce lawyer is crucial if you believe your ex-spouse intends to make unfair demands long after a marriage has ended.

Wall Street Journal: The New Art of Alimony