February 16, 2013 By Paul Wallin

A very important piece of information a wife or husband in a divorce will always want to know, is when spousal support will terminate. Family Code Section 4337 states that the “obligation of a party under an order for the support of the other party terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the other party.” Unless, the parties specified in the Judgment a particular event that will terminate the obligation to pay spousal support, Section 4337 will apply to all support orders.

However, sometimes there can be confusion as to whether the obligation terminates based on the remarriage of the receiving party. In order for the obligation to terminate, the receiving party’s remarriage must meet all of the legal requirements of a marriage—this includes obtaining a marriage license.

In a recent case from the California Court of Appeal, the Court stated that if all of the legal requirements for a marriage are not met, then a marriage has not occurred, and thus the obligation to pay support has not been terminated under Section 4337.

In Left v. Left, 208 Cal. App. 4th 1137 (2012), the party receiving support had a marriage ceremony in which the community, family and friends all believed that she was remarried, except for the fact that a marriage license was never obtained. Additionally, the paying party knew that his ex-wife did not obtain a marriage license. The Court ruled that the obligation to pay spousal support had not been terminated since a marriage license had not been obtained; therefore, there was never a marriage.

It is also important to know that even if a marriage is void or voidable, meaning that there never was a valid marriage, the obligation to pay spousal support can be terminated. In these kinds of situations, there is no doubt that all the legal requirements for a marriage had been met, including obtaining a marriage license. Therefore, the family law courts will recognize that the party receiving support remarried, and the obligation to pay is terminated.

Spousal support is always a difficult and complex issue to resolve in a divorce. Our skilled Riverside Spousal Support attorneys can help you now. We have been practicing law for over 30 years and have a trustworthy legal team. We believe our clients deserve reliable legal representation where they can feel that their divorce attorney truly has their best interest at hand. Call us today at 1-888-749-7428. Wallin and Klarich has offices in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange Counties and can help you now. We will be there when you call.

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