Paul Horton


Faculty editor: Paul Horton
Publication: Contemporary Legal Issues
Volume: 22
Start Page: 1
Month: December
Year: 2015
Type: Forward


California’s statutes on spousal support sprawl over more than fifty provisions (some rather extravagantly subdivided and lengthy) in Division 9 of its Family Code. Spousal support shares about half of those fifty-odd provisions with child support. That’s before we get to California’s version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, and after we agree to ignore what other divisions of the Code have to offer on the topic.
California’s current statute doesn’t call it “alimony.” In fact, California legislation hasn’t called any part of it “alimony” for the better part of fifty years. Since 1970 the term “spousal support” has been used to refer indiscriminately and—ambiguously—to support (and support entitlements) while marriage is going-concern, while marriage is in the throes of dissolution, while married couples are legally separated, and post-divorce. Even before that, “alimony” in the statute was used sparingly—only to refer to court-ordered support payments during legal separation and pendente lite divorce proceedings.