If an Orange County, California, software consultant is successful with his ballot initiative, alimony awards in divorce could become a thing of the past. The Secretary of State has given the go-ahead for backers of the initiative to begin gathering the 365,880 valid signatures required for the initiative to appear on the November 2016 ballot.

If approved, the ballot initiative would end the award and enforcement of spousal support in all future separation, divorce or annulment cases. Existing alimony awards of less than 10 years would be terminated immediately, subject to a judge’s ability to grant a one-year extension. Existing alimony awards of longer than 10 years would be reduced 20 percent per year over the next five years.

The man behind the initiative believes that alimony is an outdated concept that is no longer pertinent because almost one-half of women now work outside the home. He is also motivated by cases where he has seen alimony used as a retaliatory tactic by a spouse who is able to be self-supporting without receipt of alimony. He also says that alimony hurts children of divorce, wasting money on bitter fights over alimony that could otherwise be used for the children’s support and education.

Passage of the initiative to end alimony would result in a sea change in divorce courts across the state. As drafted, the initiative does not make exceptions for cases where spousal support is justified and necessary in order for both ex-spouses to cover their living expenses. The prospect of the end of alimony may prompt some individuals contemplating marriage to seek the services of an attorney to help draft a prenuptial agreement to provide some measure of financial protection in the event that alimony is no longer an option.

Source: MyNewsLA.com, “Signature gathering approved for initiative to end alimony,” Debbie L. Sklar, May 8, 2015