If I’ve been paying my own way through college to earn my RN degree and file for divorce before I get a job, will my husband have any claim to my future earnings?

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If I’ve been paying my own way through college to earn my RN degree and file for divorce before I get a job, will my husband have any claim to my future earnings?

Asked on February 10, 2012 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you live in a community property state, community property is property acquired during marriage.  This also applies to income during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  This also applies to income before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.

Your income as an RN after divorce is your separate property and your husband would have no claim to that income.

Since you have been paying your own way for your RN training, if the payments are from a separate property source, your husband has no claim.  If your payments for the RN training are from income during marriage, that income would be community property and your husband may be able to claim half the value of those payments as community property.  Again, however, your income after divorce or after separation with no intent to reunite is your separate property which would result in your future income as an RN being your separate property and your husband would have no claim to that income.

If you are married while earning income as an RN, that income would be community property and your husband would have a one half interest in that income.  If you get divorced after having been employed for x number of years as an RN, your income during marriage would be community property to which your husband would have a claim for half.  Your husband's claim on your retirement would only apply to that portion of your retirement representing your income during your marriage.  As community property, your husband could claim one half of your retirement representing the years in which you were married.  After your divorce or separation with no intent to reunite, your husband would have no claim to that portion of your retirement representing income after the end of the marriage because that would be your separate property.

If you don't live in a community property state, other rules may be applicable.


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