Ask a Divorce Lawyer: Could my wife get alimony if my income goes up after the divorce is final?

Question: Do I have to pay alimony since I have only made $8,000 a year the last 3 years due to a medical reason? Also, my wife made more like $15,000. She just had ex parte; she had an attorney and I didn’t. She wants child support, alimony and fees, and got 50/50 custody. 

Does she get alimony if I make a lot more money after the divorce is final? I’m also worried about her mental state, and there’s a police report showing narcotic abuse symptoms. Can I get a mental evaluation for her?


Answer:  Whether you’ll have to pay alimony is an issue that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  Generally speaking, the spouse earning less money is going to be entitled to some spousal support (alimony).  

There are many reasons to deviate from that generality.  Both spouses earning below poverty level incomes may be one such reason.  Also, whether she could get spousal support if you make a lot more money after the divorce is final is possible, but it’s also something that could be prevented through a settlement agreement.  

Regarding your wife’s mental state, it may be possible for you to get a mental evaluation for her.  Keep in mind that often times when one party asks for an evaluation, the court is often inclined to request the evaluation of both parties.  If you have solid evidence of drug abuse, the court many be inclined to order a drug evaluation as opposed to a mental evaluation.  

My suggestion is that you consult with a local attorney who is familiar with the local rules and state laws in your jurisdiction and discuss your options. 


Claudia J. Weaver is an Associate Attorney with Cordell & Cordell, P.C., in Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Weaver practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations.

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