Until now, the ongoing divorce case between California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his wife, former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer seemed to be a relatively uncontested one. The couple has reportedly agreed to share joint legal and physical custody of their 9-year-old son, and it is likely that Bill will remain in the couple’s home because he owned it long before they married in 2003.

However, a recent family court filing indicates that there may be some lingering issues to be decided by the judge overseeing the couple’s divorce case. Bill has reportedly reserved the right to seek spousal support from his wife, and has asked that she be made responsible for paying attorneys’ fees and court costs. This is despite a significant disparity in the couple’s incomes, in Bill’s favor. Nadia is currently unemployed, while her soon-to-be-ex husband earns nearly $140,000 as state treasurer.

But California divorce lawyers say that it is common to leave the option for spousal support open in the initial stages of a divorce case. This is because, at this point in the proceedings, the couple and the court have not yet determined the value of their estate and how their assets will be divided under California’s community property laws.

One local attorney does not think that either spouse’s employment status will even be a factor in the spousal support determination. Generally, he says, it is unusual for courts to award alimony in short marriages such as this one, and judges are more likely to grant it in situations in which one spouse has been out of the working world for some period of time.

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