Atkins Bill denying abusive spousal rights moves to Assembly floorOnline Only, Bottom Highlights Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
A California bill that would prevent the granting of rights to abusive spouses moved to the Assembly floor for a full vote Wednesday following the approval by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote.
Introduced by Assemblymember Toni Atkins, AB 1522 follows the case of San Diego area woman, Crystal Harris, who was ordered by a court to pay her husband’s legal fees plus monthly spousal support, despite the fact that he was convicted of committing violent sex crimes against her and was ultimately sent to prison. The bill, if passed, would prevent abusive ex-spouses from forcing their victims to pay them spousal support and other financial compensation following a divorce.
“Someone who rapes their spouse should not then be able to turn around and make their victim support them following a divorce, just because the victim makes more money than the rapist,” said Atkins. “That is just not fair. But that is exactly what happened to Crystal Harris. I appreciate the support of my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for this simple matter of justice.”
Current law already prevents spousal support in cases of the attempted murder or soliciting the murder of a spouse. AB 1522 would add violent sex felonies to the list of convictions that disqualify a person from obtaining financial benefits from their ex-spouse in a divorce proceeding.
Atkins, a lesbian, has been a vocal supporter of human rights, and currently serves on the national board of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute.
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