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3 Things to Consider If You Divorce an Unemployed Spouse

 Posted on June 28, 2024 in Divorce

Arlington Heights, IL divorce lawyerThere are many reasons why people decide to get divorced, chronic unemployment being one of them. Studies show that men who do not have full-time employment are 33 percent more likely to be divorced than husbands who are employed full-time. This means that many divorces happen because one partner is jobless.

Divorcing an unemployed spouse, however, has certain legal consequences. Whether the divorce is your choice or not, speak with a qualified Illinois divorce lawyer about what to expect.

Here are three things to consider if you divorce an unemployed spouse.


In many divorces, one spouse is ordered to pay the other spouse alimony, which is also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance. The alimony order from the court, which determines how much and how long alimony payments will be, is based on several factors, such as:

  • The income of each spouse

  • The employment status of each spouse

  • The future earning potential of each spouse

  • The needs of each spouse

  • The duration of the marriage

  • Which spouse has child custody

One of the deciding factors is the financial situation of each spouse. If there is a big difference between the two parties — if you are employed and your spouse is unemployed, for example — you can expect to be ordered to pay alimony.

Child Support

Child support is another financial obligation that is often settled in a divorce. Unlike alimony, however, both parents are required to financially support their child, and this usually results in child support payments from one spouse to the other. The child support order will be based on certain factors, such as:

  • The child’s educational and developmental needs

  • The financial ability of each spouse

  • The standard of living the child had during the marriage

Child support payments in Illinois are calculated using a formula that combines each parent’s income and then determines what portion of the combined income is required to go toward supporting the child. Then, depending on how much time each parent spends with the child, one parent may be ordered to make child support payments to the other to make sure the child support contributions are equal. 

Here, the primary factors that determine how much child support must be paid are the needs of the child. A judge will not reduce the amount of child support needed just because your spouse is unemployed. You will likely be ordered to shoulder as much of the child support as financially possible.

Property Division

Property division is when two spouses divide their marital property between them in a divorce. Marital property is what Illinois calls assets that belong to both parties. These usually include possessions acquired by either party during the marriage. 

In Illinois, marital property is divided fairly, not equally. This is not defined by the law, so it is left up to the judge or to the spouses to decide what is fair. It is necessary for courts to consider the financial situations of both spouses when deciding how to divide the assets. If you are employed and your spouse is not, he or she may be awarded more marital property.

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Divorce Attorney

When an employed spouse divorces an unemployed spouse, the divorce settlement often requires more financial obligations from one spouse to the other. At A. Traub & Associates, our skilled and experienced attorneys are ready to protect you from unnecessary financial obligations and defend your interests. We offer tailored solutions to your specific divorce with a friendly approach. Call 847-749-4182 to speak with an Arlington Heights, IL divorce lawyer today.

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