Ask A Lawyer: Do I Pay Alimony When Wife Quits Job?


My wife and I are divorcing. She had left an executive job that paid well over 100k per year and now insists that she will never work in "corparate America" again. She has started a home improvement business (of which she has no experience) and is currently not working.

She is demanding alimony because of her decrease in salary. My current salary is 75k per year and I have been employed with the same company for 33 years.

What are my rights here? Do I have to pay her alimony?



Your wife’s entitlement to alimony ("spousal maintenance" or "spousal support") will depend upon the applicable law of your jurisdiction.  Factors may include the marital financial history, expected future financial abilities of both parties, the reasonableness of her employment decisions, and the overall property division. 

As with most domestic relations law cases, it is important to retain a qualified and experienced law firm or attorney to assess the application of the statutes, court rulings, and local procedures/preferences to your case, as well as to develop the best litigation or settlement strategy to address your financial priorities.  Avoiding support, when possible and appropriate, is desirable in order to end the financial entanglements of the parties and prevent future efforts to extend or increase support.   If you wish to avoid support, you may be able to prove her financial situation is reversible or temporary (regardless of her desires to free of corporate America) or you may be able to trade current assets in exchange for her not receiving support if support is warranted.



Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 

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One comment on “Ask A Lawyer: Do I Pay Alimony When Wife Quits Job?

    Wife quits full-time Job then demands money from husband. She looses professional license for failing to disclose to the professional boards arrests for domestic violence and drug possession
    This situation is troubling. I am simply looking for feed back here. My wife filed for a divorce, moved out of the home and demanded 7K per month in alimony. The court refused to award this amount. She was granted 3K per month and had a full-time job for the same year paying 60K per year. Wife lived out of the house for 13 months and received 3K per month during the same year she was work in a professionally licensed field.. WIfe and I decide to reconcile. Wife moves back into house. Wife elects to quits her full-time jobs and works part-time, within one month of moving back into the house. She then demanded 3K per month continued supplemental money. I refused. Wife then decided to return to work full-time. However, she elected to work full time in a neighboring state. The neighboring state required finger prints for license processing. Wife did NOT disclose her prior guilty pleas for both domestic violence (level 7 felony) and drug possession 6 years prior. Licensing board advises her that an investigation will be conducted for not disclosing such information. It turns out that such background information had never been disclosed to any employer or licensing boards in any other states when the question asked was “did you ever…plead guilty, enter a plea of guilty.” As wife seeks employment, these same types of questions continue to come up, but wife refuses to disclose and continues to explain why the “question” does NOT ask THAT specific question, etc., etc. “I am not sure what they are asking.”

    I filed for divorce, I am on the hook for large amounts of alimony for self-inflicted injuries for NOT being honest, and NOT disclosing such information?

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