Martin: Spousal Support
In re Marriage of Martin (Spousal Support)
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District
Published Opinion, (2019) 32 Cal.App.5th 1195
In their judgment of dissolution, the husband agreed to pay spousal support (alimony) to his wife for four years. After discovering she had remarried, the husband stopped paying alimony and requested reimbursement of the amount he paid since her remarriage. The family court ordered reimbursement of $27,000 in spousal support plus $ 2,700 in attorney fees. The former wife appealed, claiming the alimony obligation did not terminate by operation of law upon her remarriage because the parties agreed in writing that the automatic termination provisions of Family Code section 4337 would not apply. The appellate court agreed. The court form attached to the judgment had a check box that the parties could select to terminate spousal support on the supported party’s remarriage but they left it blank. By failing to check the box, the court interpreted the form as an agreement that the wife’s remarriage would not affect the husband’s obligation to pay alimony.