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Concerns for a non-working spouse in a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2020 | Divorce

Sometimes, a person needs a divorce because she or he is not happy in a marriage or otherwise cannot remain in the marriage. This can become a difficult situation when one spouse does not work. Usually, this is a spouse who stays home to take care of the children. In some cases, it may be one spouse stays at home because the other spouse is a high wage earner and there is no need for him or her to work. In any case, when divorce looms, it makes it tricky for the spouse left with no income. 

Forbes explains that divorce laws will help a non-working spouse in most cases. If the reasoning behind not working is valid, such as staying home to care for the children or a mutual decision between the spouses, then the law offers spousal support and property division options that can enable the non-working spouse to maintain a reasonable standard of living after the divorce. 

Property division 

In New Jersey, the court divides property equitably. It seeks to reach a fair decision that leaves each spouse with what it feels is a reasonable settlement. This does not mean the court will equally divide all assets. One spouse may end up with more. It depends on a range of factors. However, the court will consider the contributions of both the working and non-working spouse when making such choices. 

Spousal support 

The most beneficial way for a non-working spouse to stay financially sound following a divorce is through a spousal support award. The court will look at various factors to determine if the situation warrants an award of support. It will have to decide the value of the non-working spouse’s contributions to the household when figuring whether to award support and how much to award. 

Keep in mind that if a spouse does not work simply because he or she refuses to get a job, the court may not look so favorably upon that. Unless this is a temporary issue, or it is not a choice to remain unemployed, the court will assume the spouse can find work and may not consider the unemployment when making property division and spousal support decisions. 


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