Businessman seeks initiative to revise the “out of date” California upkeep legislation

For many, divorce is a difficult process that is fraught with emotional pain and financial struggles, including lengthy litigation over things like child support.

With this in mind, Steve Clark, an independent software consultant based in Huntington Beach, has put together a petition for an initiative to revise maintenance law in California, the Times Community News reported. His website is dedicated to the proposal.

In most cases of maintenance, the spouse with the higher income has to pay the other a certain amount of money each month in order to maintain the standard of living that was established during the marriage.

If Clark’s initiative goes through, it would prohibit maintenance claims during divorce, separation, and termination proceedings. It would also immediately cease existing alimony payments that were supposed to end within 10 years, unless a court grants an extension of up to one year.

Any existing grant of 10 years or more would be reduced by 20% over a five year period.

Clark’s inspiration for the initiative came after his own divorce after 25 years of marriage, which resulted in legal fees of $ 100,000. He said he had seen the “many pitfalls associated with the process”.

“Prior to my divorce, I was completely unaware of California family law that state marriages of 10 years or more are potentially subject to ‘lifelong’ maintenance payments from the higher-income provider,” said Clark, who pays US $ 1,000 on a permanent basis. Dollars a month. “That was a total shock for me and was also the reason for a divorce that was painful for over three years.”

Clark said maintenance is an “outdated” concept as women now make up nearly half of the workforce in the United States.

“For about 47% of women in the US, alimony reform should no longer be viewed as a gender issue,” said Clark. “There are many women in society today who have higher incomes than their husbands.”

Another reason for his approach is what he sees as an unintended consequence of the maintenance of the children of divorced couples.

“It harms children both financially and emotionally,” said Clark. “In many cases, like mine, the pain of a protracted divorce seeps through on children and money that could have gone to support and education is wasted on lawyers.”

Family service organizations would not comment on Clark’s initiative. Several divorce lawyers and law professors did not respond to calls for comments.

In order for the measure to qualify for the November 2016 vote, Clark must collect at least 365,880 valid signatures from registered voters in California by the November 2 deadline of this year.

Clark said he sponsors a signature-collection contest that awards the three petition circulators with the most signatures in a month with prizes between $ 200 and $ 500.

Garcia writes for Times Community News.

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