What chance does my wife have of getting alimony if I’m broke?

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What chance does my wife have of getting alimony if I’m broke?

Due to the current economy, I’ve earned $0 for the past 3 years. The 2 years prior to that I earned about $400k yearly. We’ve been living off savings that have dwindled considerably. Our net worth is about $1m with 700k of that as home equity. Married 15 years. Wife never worked. We already agreed to split assets 50/50 via mediation. She’s now decided to sue for maintenance. Will she get it? Her parents are worth $30M. Mine are broke.

Asked on March 20, 2011 under Family Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation.  The right to "alimony" as it is commonly called, even in a long-term marriage, is not an absolute right anymore. There was a time when it seemed to be but times have changed and courts now look at the matter in a number of ways. It can not be temporary(sometimes call rehabilitative) or permanent. When determining a claim for temporary or permanent alimony, the court will consider a wide range of factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the earning capacity of each party and the amount of property awarded to each party at the conclusion of the divorce.  So just because your wife never worked does not mean she does not have the ability to do so.  And your present financial status will have some bearing on the matter as well.  Time to get some legal help here.  Good luck.


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