|Title||Judicial Discretion and Spousal Support: An Update|
|Abstract||My task has been to determine whether Shamsky?s thesis still holds true. My search of California?s published appellate decisions uncovered 49 cases between 1996 (the cutoff date for Shamsky?s study) and the end of 2010, most of which involved one or more alimony issues that were subject to restrictive appellate standards of review. This case universe was analyzed following Shamsky?s methodology?the examination of spousal-support issues and their solution on officially published appellate decisions?and issue categories: jurisdiction, original support orders, original orders terminating after a fixed amount of time, modification orders, cohabitation, contractual issues, attorney?s fees and sanctions, and ?other? spousal support issues.
My study reveals that in the thirteen-plus years since Shamsky?s study, appellate courts have remained as likely to reverse the alimony decisions of trial courts as they are to affirm their judgments; and on some alimony topics they are more likely to reverse the trial courts? decisions. My case universe, with annotations, appears as an Appendix to this essay.