Can you sue your ex-husband for compensation since I was a stay-at-home mom?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can you sue your ex-husband for compensation since I was a stay-at-home mom?

I am recently divorced. The judge saw fit to not requiring my ex-husband to pay me alimony. My ex had great lawyers; my last lawyer disappeared before the case was over. I lost my children, home and have to pay my ex’s legal fees and child support. I was a stay-at-home mother for our entire marriage. In that time we had 3 children. He worked 7 days a week and more than doubled his salary to around $160,000. When I married, I had just graduated with a degree to teach middle school. I now have a very difficult time finding a

job because I can’t get certified due to the time lapse. I would have to go back to school before I could take the test again. I have over $45,000 in students loans that I can’t pay back. I lost 9 years of pay that would have most likely increased yearly. The average teacher starts around $35,000. I took care of our children on my own, volunteered at their school, stood by his side as he advanced his career and now I have nothing to show for it. I’m not even able to be a mother to my children.

Asked on January 18, 2018 under Family Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If there was already a divorce case which was determined, you *cannot* sue again: the "entire controversy" doctrine requires that all claims arising out of the same facts/circumstances (e.g. your marriage) be brought in the same case; it, plus "res judicata" (a case's decision is binding on the parties) prevents you from later bringing new claims for essentially the same thing as you sought or could have sought in the first case: compensation or support from your now-ex spouse. You had a case for (among other things) compensation (alimony); the court issued a ruling; that ruling is binding on you (no alimony or compensation).
You could appeal the decision, if you have not run out of time for an appeal, but that is your legal option: to appeal a decision you think was wrong, not to bring a new case all over again for compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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