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California man wants to set time limit for spousal support

If you have set aside a career to take care of your home and children, going through a divorce may put you at a financial disadvantage. You may have to try and reenter the workforce with little to no job history for the length of your marriage. Spousal may provide for you to have the financial support you need while you get back on your feet.

Currently, a judge determines the length of time that spousal support lasts, but a man in California thinks that spousal support should only last for five years. He has started a petition to make that time limit California law.

After paying for six years, man thinks he should be done

After the man divorced his wife in 2013, he paid child support and spousal support. The child support ended when his daughter turned 18, but he has continued paying $1,000 to his ex-wife every month in spousal support. According to him, she has had plenty of time to restart her career as a dental hygienist and no longer needs his support.

Man collecting petitions for 2020 ballot

The man's petition would add the five-year spousal support limit to the California ballot in 2020. He previously petitioned in 2015 for the 2016 ballot, but was unsuccessful. This year, he plans to send out canvassers throughout California in an effort to collect the 623,212 signatures needed.

Spousal support helps lower-earning former spouses

This man's situation may call for a decrease or end to the spousal support payments. California law currently allows the spouse paying support to ask the court for a change in the amount paid for a variety of reasons. For example, If the man can prove that his ex-wife can support her life without his help, the court can decrease the payments or end them all together.

However, lower-earning spouses are not always able to restart their careers as easily. The man's former spouse had training in a field that may have enabled her to find a successful job. This is not always the case and many spouses who have stayed home to take care of the home and children struggle to find successful careers. By staying out of the workforce, they lose out on valuable training and opportunities. Some of them may need more than five years of support.

Since the higher-earning spouse has had more time to focus on his or her career, that spouse often has much better financial footing after the divorce.

Each divorce is a unique situation

If you didn't get a chance to develop your career because of your marriage, spousal support can ease financial stress as you reenter the workforce. For now, the length that you receive that support in California will depend on your specific situation.

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