Alimony and Domestic Violence


A divorce in Pasadena that involves domestic violence can present several special considerations when the settlement is being negotiated. One of these issues relates to alimony. If a woman makes more than her husband, she may be concerned that she could be ordered to pay alimony to her abuser if she asks for a divorce.

Alimony awards are determined on a case by case basis. Gender does not play a factor in who receives alimony. The primary consideration is whether or not the spouse asking for alimony needs the financial support in order to regain his or her independence. People who are awarded alimony are often those who were stay-at-home spouses or parents during the marriage, people who have trouble finding steady work due to a disability, or those who have substantially less education and assets than their spouse. The length of the marriage is a factor because marriages of longer duration are thought to indicate a greater obligation of one spouse to provide support for the other.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are concerned that you will need to pay alimony to your abuser, you will need to gather as much proof as possible relating to your abuser's misdeeds. Proof of abuse could include copies of police reports for domestic disturbance calls or copies of your medical records from times when you needed to seek treatment for injuries your spouse inflicted upon you. Other forms of acceptable proof would include 911 calls, dated photographs of your injuries or property that was damaged as the result of an attack, or records of seeking assistance from a domestic violence crisis center. Testimony from witnesses to the abuse is acceptable, as long as your witness is considered reliable in court.

With substantial proof of domestic violence, a judge can deny an alimony request that would otherwise be granted based on financial considerations alone. A Pasadena family law lawyer with past experience representing domestic violence victims can answer any additional questions you might have relating to this issue.