Alimony, Child Support When Wife Earned More

too poor to divorceQuestion:

I was out of work much of the time I was married to my wife and she always brought in more money than me. Her mother also helped support us throughout the marriage.

Now that we are divorced, is she entitled to alimony or child support?


I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general tips on your situation.

In most states, whether or not child support is ordered is based upon a combination of factors, including how much income you earn, how much income your spouse earns, and how much time each of you spend with the child.

The way the law looks at child support is that it is the responsibility of both parents to support the child. Most likely, the more time that the child spends with your wife, the greater your risk of needing to pay child support to her. If your child is spending roughly equal amounts of time with both of you, and you and your wife have roughly the same income, then child support may not be ordered.Scipior_Anne

Similarly, if your wife has sources of income that far exceed your income, and you have substantial time caring for the child, your wife could be ordered to pay you child support. Whether or not your wife’s mother provided you with money during the marriage will likely not be a substantial factor whether the court determines to award child support.

Alimony laws vary significantly from state to state. In Wisconsin, where I practice law, the court must look at a variety of factors in determining whether to award alimony, include length of the marriage, historic earnings during the marriage, whether there is a child support order and standard of living during the marriage.

If you did not historically earn much during the marriage, and she typically earned more than you, then there is probably not a great likelihood that you would be required to pay her alimony.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Wisconsin divorce lawyer Anne Scipior, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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