A Huntington Beach software consultant has received permission from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to collect signatures for a voter initiative aimed at ending alimony.
Steve Clark, who is also executive director of CalAlimonyReform.org, says his own divorce prompted him to write the initiative, explaining to City News Service, "I was able to experience first-hand the many pitfalls associated with the process. … The amount of time and money coupled with the emotional stress was more than I could have ever anticipated."
He argues alimony is "outdated," having been created at a time when there were few women in the workforce. Today, many wives earn more than their husbands, notes Clark, who claims alimony has devolved into a "retaliatory tactic" that can harm children financially and emotionally.
If approved by voters, his initiative would end a court's ability to award and enforce alimony, also known as spousal support, during marriage, upon legal separation, divorce or annulment. Existing spousal support awards of less than 10 years would be terminated, unless a court grants an extension of up to one year. Existing spousal support awards greater than 10 years would be reduced to zero.
Legislative Analyst's Office and Department of Finance estimates claims the initiative would result in increased state court costs not likely to exceed the low tens of millions of dollars annually over the next few years related to petitions to terminate existing spousal support orders. (So don't worry, lawyers; still more work for you!)
Clark's group has until Nov. 2 to obtain valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters–or 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election–to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot.