Orange or Black, It's Still Irreconcilable Differences

Jenji Louise Kohan is an American television producer and writer. She became famous for writing and producing the Showtime comedy-drama series Weeds. Her current productions are on streaming channel Netflix, called Orange is the New Black and GLOW (Glorious Ladies of Wrestling). She recently signed a long-term contract with Netflix to create more shows.

Christopher Noxon is an American writer and free-lance journalist.

In 1997, Kohan married Noxon. Together they have three children, two sons and a daughter. One child is now an adult, while the younger two are in high school.

In December of 2018, Kohan filed for divorce in Los Angeles County from Noxon citing irreconcilable differences. On the same day, Noxon filed his response to Kohan’s petition requesting a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.

Kohan’s papers request that neither she nor Noxon receive spousal support. Noxon’s papers request that he be awarded spousal support from Kohan.

According to California law, spousal support is awarded to a spouse when requested by a spouse needing support and the other spouse has the ability to pay. Also, both spouses are entitled – as much as possible – to maintain the lifestyle they had during their marriage as well as after.

Further, California policy is that spousal support, when awarded, is to helped the spouse get back on his/her feet to support him/herself. This usually means the supported spouse will obtain an education and/or degree that will allow that person to become self-supporting. A rule of thumb is spousal support is awarded for up to about one-half the time of the marriage. Thus, if a marriage lasted six years, then the spouse needing support will probably be granted no more than three years of spousal support (assuming the other spouse has the ability to pay it).

However, California also has a law for long-term marriages. A long-term marriage is usually defined as a marriage of at least 10 years duration. If so, at the request of one the parties to a divorce, the court maintains its jurisdiction (power) over the issue of spousal support indefinitely.

The reasoning behind the long-term marriage law, is that a spouse having been provided for during the marriage, may not be able to make up those years after the divorce to be self-supporting. Thus, the court maintains jurisdiction and continues to decide whether spousal support should continue to be awarded and/or modified (either higher or lower).

The couple was married for 20 years, putting them in the long-term marriage category. If there was no prenuptial agreement and Noxon, can show that he is incapable of supporting himself in the lifestyle he was accustomed to during their marriage, he will be entitled to spousal support. He may also be able to convince a judge to maintain jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support if he can show that he may not be able to ever reach the same standard of living based on his ability. Keep in mind, that even if the judge does maintain jurisdiction, if Noxon becomes able to support himself in a manner similar to his marital lifestyle, then Kohan can request the judge stop spousal support and end the court’s jurisdiction.

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