Alimony or refusal to work?

Alimony can be requested as long as one spouse makes more than the other. It’s based, I believe, on the length of marriage and on the spouse’s ability to work. You would split all debt and marital assets, so what you are currently paying may not be what you would pay after the separation.
I’m not sure about her being unemployed by choice and how that affects alimony. I know that it affects child support.
In that same aspect though, alimony can sometimes be a negotiating point as in…she doesn’t have to “buy” you out of the marital home in return for not requesting alimony. You need to consult with an attorney and have a separation agreement drawn up.

There is no cut and dry answer in your situation. She has not worked for the last two years and that means you have established a standard of living that includes her not working. The age of your children is going to have a significant impact on whether her decision not to work is considered reasonable. It is likely that you will pay her some alimony, however the court will take into account the amount of debt you have been paying when making a decision regarding alimomy.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

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I would like to know how the alimony rules might apply in this case. My wife is not employed, and refuses to look for employment. I have two jobs, my work hours average nearly 90 each week. All the money I make goes to barely meet our current debts. My wife clearly wants out of this marriage and she has told me as long as she is unemployed at the end, I will owe alimony until she finds employment, and she will never do so. She is employable, she even has a graduate degree. She left a good job two years ago rather than transfer when the company moved out of state.

Is it true that the law will define my contribution as the two jobs, and her contribution as “homemaker” and she will get alimony? It may not be relevant, but I do all the cooking, cleaning, and most of the child care. (She picks the kids up from school, but that’s it.)I am afraid I’ll have to take on three jobs to pay debts and alimony, and my health will suffer.

Is it possible to answer this question independent of any child care issues?