If my wife and I are separating after 30 years of marriage and she has been out of work for the past 3 years, do I have to support her?

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If my wife and I are separating after 30 years of marriage and she has been out of work for the past 3 years, do I have to support her?

We are aware we have to be seperated for a year before we can file for divorce. I am the only one with income. She is in the process of filing for disability. I have supported her for the past 3 years without her working. Do I have to support her the whole year we are seperated before we file for divorce?

Asked on August 11, 2011 South Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Generally speaking, a husband has an obligation to support a wife  - and a wife has an obligation to support a husband - until the judgement of divorce is signed.  So the answer to your question is yes, the state would not allow her to go on welfare or medicaid or supply any other services to her if you are still married.  I would speak with an attorney in your area on the particulars of the matter as soon as you can.  If she is going to be going on disability it is probably not a lot of money and I bet that you are going to have to pay some form of spousal maintenance if there are not sufficient assets to support her.  This is really worth a consultation fee. 


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