What is My Spouse Refuses to Work Even Though He or She is Capable?

The issue of spousal support is often a contentious one in a divorce. Spousal support can be awarded either temporarily or permanently depending upon many factors including the length of the marriage, the contributions each spouse has made to the family and to the career of the other, and the earning potential of each spouse. 

In some cases, a spouse refuses to work even though he or she is capable of doing so. When this happens, the court will take this refusal into account when considering its support order. The specific impact of the refusal is going to vary depending upon whether the spouse who will not work would be eligible to receive spousal support or would be obligated to pay support if he or she got a job available based on his potential.

What if Your Spouse Refuses to Work After a Divorce?

If your spouse is seeking alimony in a divorce, the court considers many different things including his or her earning potential. If your spouse is capable of becoming self-supporting so he or she is no longer in need of alimony, the court will expect him to do so. The court may order support for a limited period of time to provide the opportunity to find a job or renew credentials. Spousal support will end when that time period ends. If the court orders support to be paid until conditions are met, such as the completion of a degree program, then the spouse receiving support must actively work towards fulfilling those requirements. If your spouse refuses to work towards completing the requirements, you can go to court to petition to have the temporary support ended.

If your spouse is obligated to pay you alimony, or if your spouse has the potential to earn much more than you do and should be paying you alimony, then it is also a big problem if your spouse refuses to work. A court considers a person’s actual income when deciding on an appropriate amount of both spousal and child support. However, a person is not allowed to willfully refuse to work or to earn money just because he or she wants to avoid a support obligation. If your spouse refuses to work because he doesn’t want to pay for your alimony or to take care of children, the court can sometimes order a support amount that would be appropriate if he or she was working up to his potential. These types of cases are difficult because the court is only going to do this if it is fairly clear that the person could be earning a sufficient amount but is intentionally choosing not to do so.

The issues of spousal and child support are always complicated, especially when one spouse is taking an adversarial approach and is refusing to work. An experienced Phoenix, AZ divorce lawyer can help you with complex cases related to child support and spousal support. Call today to schedule a consultation with Singer Pistiner, P.C for more information on how a divorce and family law professional can help with your case.


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