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Learn About Spousal Support from Frida Kahlo


The right to spousal support depends on the existence of a marriage. Look at the marriage and divorce of Frida Kahlo for a hypothetical.


Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. She is an international icon for freedom and expression.


As a girl in 1929, Frida Kahlo introduced herself to the Mexican Painter Diego Rivera. He became her mentor and inspiration, and they married in 1929. Their marriage was turbulent–both parties were unfaithful to each other. When Kahlo discovered Diego was having an affair with her sister, they separated. The couple divorced in 1939 but then reconciled and remarried in 1940 in a simple ceremony. This time they lived in separate homes until Kahlo died at age 47. Rivera wrote that the day Kahlo died was the most tragic of his life and he would forever regret not loving her enough. Of Rivera, she wrote in her diary, “Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did.”


In California, the right to spousal support accrues from the existence of a marriage. For marriage of less than 10 years, the typical length of support due is 50% the length of the marriage. Potentially greater awards of support are possible for longer marriages.


Here, with Frida and Diego, they had two marriages. Support due under the first marriage would most likely be limited to half the length of the marriage since they were married ten years. They never divorced the second time, but if they had, the length of marriage would not have been added to the first to create a marriage of long duration. If the second marriage was a marriage of long duration (longer than ten years), then that would have been evaluated separately. For either marriage, the Court must balance all 23 factors under Family Code section 4320 touching on issue like the age and health of the parties, the marketable skills of the parties, their assets and debts, the marital standard of living, etc. The analysis isn’t simple and a party is wise to seek legal counsel to get it right.


If you have questions about your right to spousal support, schedule a free initial consultation with the Law Offices of Jane Migacyhov HERE.

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