Divorce and unpaid work during marriage

Hi, I am wanting to divorce my husband after 4 years of marriage. During these 4 years, I worked unpaid for my husbands company. We cant reach a mutual agreement, and will be taking the proceedings to court. I am just wanting to know if I am likely to be compensated in a way roughly equal to the hours worked for the 4 years of unpaid work I did for his company I can provide evidence I worked those 4 years without pay? I should note, there was no formal agreement we made prior to me working unpaid it was a gesture of good will on my behalf.

Asked on September 16, 2016 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You will not be compensated with salary or wages--you and your husband jointly made the decision for you to work without pay, and the court will not now order him to retroactively pay you $X.XX per hour. But your contribution to the success of his company, and therefore to his current income and to the family assets, will be taken into account in a more subjective (i.e. not by multiplying hours by some rate or wage) way and will likely lead to your receiving some interest in his company, or a greater share of assets, or more spousal support, because what you did has helped him have more income or assets, and/or helped his business grow. If you're going to court with a complex, but important, issue like this, make sure you are represented by an experienced family law or divorce attorney; such a lawyer will know how to make sure that your contributions are recognized and you receive something for them.


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