Legislation Expanding Financial Protections for Survivors of Domestic Abuse Signed by Governor

September 27, 2018
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Senate Bill (SB) 1129 by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.  SB 1129 provides critical financial protections to survivors of violent domestic abuse. 
“Californians who survive domestic violence at the hands of their spouse should never be forced to financially support them after their marriage ends” Senator Monning said.  “I applaud Governor Brown’s decision to sign a bill which will ensure that all survivors of domestic violence in California will be protected from having to monetarily provide for the spouse who terrorized and abused them,” Senator Monning added. 
Current law prohibits the courts from requiring a victim of a sexually violent felony, or attempted murder, from having to pay their convicted spouse’s attorney’s fees, spousal support, or community property interest in a pension or retirement fund.  However, it falls short in protecting most survivors of domestic violence.
Senator Monning added, “I was asked to introduce this measure by constituents who, through personal experience, felt that this inequity in the law forces the courts to re-victimize survivors of domestic violence by awarding spousal support to their abuser.”
SB 1129 will expand eligibility for financial protections to all survivors of domestic violence through a bifurcated system that provides guidance and restrictions on how the courts can award spousal support to an abuser.  Under the provisions of the bill, if an abusive spouse is convicted of a felony, the protections against economic support automatically apply, unless they themselves have been a victim of violence.  If the conviction was a misdemeanor, then the protections presumptively apply and can be rebutted before a judge with a showing of mitigating evidence.
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