Unemployed & Underemployed Spouses in a Divorce

Divorcing an unemployed spouse is not uncommon, but whether their lack of work is voluntary or involuntary can have a significant impact on child support and alimony (maintenance) issues. Legally, your spouse may be entitled to financial considerations. However, if they are purposely unemployed or underemployed during the divorce process, here’s how you could be protected.

Child Support

When a non-custodial parent is unemployed, courts will most of the time impute income to them based on several factors, such as whether they could find a job, how much they could potentially make and whether there is a disability. The amount of income that is imputed to an unemployed spouse generally will impact the amount of child support that is paid.

Alimony (Maintenance)

If your spouse is unemployed or underemployed, they may ask the court for alimony (maintenance) as part of your divorce. You may be able to use a vocational expert to increase the amount of income that a court will impute to your spouse.

Equitable Distribution

In an equitable distribution state, such as Missouri, if one spouse holds the title to an asset in their own name, it is their property. However, this does not mean the other spouse is not entitled to a piece of it, if the property is marital property. Judges divide marital property that is both jointly-owned property and marital property that is separately-owned property in a way that is “equitable.” This does not mean 50/50, it just means “fair.” If your spouse is unemployed because they are incapable of working, they may receive more marital property.

Family law can be very complex and the information here should not be constructed as legal advice in your case. Contact our St. Louis family law lawyer at Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. today to discuss your issues. Call (636) 552-4841 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.
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