I live in Virginia. I have been the breadwinner for 20 of the 25 years of marriage. This is because my husband won't get a job. Not sure where he goes all day, but it is not work. We have one child, of 3, left in college with 2 more years. I am considering divorce. My question is: will I have to split all of my retirement with him 50/50 and all the assets (even though he didn't earn any money all these years) and since he pays for everything with credit cards and pays off only the monthly minimum, will I be responsible for half his ccard debt? All children are over 18, so not child support, but what about alimony? He is 59 and I am 57. Are judges ever empathetic to a woman whose husband refuses to get work???
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Virginia
Encouraging him to get a job---for years! Not working and he is healthy, has an MBA and CFP. No excuses.
Thank you for your question. I will do my best to assist you with your concerns. If you would like me to clarify my answer, I will be happy to do so. I am very sorry to hear that you are in this situation, truly. To best assist you, please permit me to answer of your concerns in order so that I do not miss anything. My question is: will I have to split all of my retirement with him 50/50 and all the assets (even though he didn't earn any money all these years) and since he pays for everything with credit cards and pays off only the monthly minimum, will I be responsible for half his ccard debt? Virginia is known as an 'equitable distribution' state. Unlike community property states where all assets and debts obtained while married are split 50/50, in an equitable distribution situation all assets and debts, if not otherwise split by the spouses, are split equitably and fairly, but not necessarily equally. That means that if you can show that he was the only one on the cards, you can demand that the courts consider forcing him take on most of the debt himself, and not you. It would still be subject to court order, but it is not a strict 50/50 split for you and for your spouse. Here is the link to the Virginia Code § 20-107.3 that defines what factors the courts look to when the split up equitable assets and debt:DANGEROUS URL REMOVED?000+cod+20-107.3All children are over 18, so not child support, but what about alimony?Alimony is still possible, because either spouse is entitled to benefits that they would have had if the marriage were still in existence. Since he is the one who does not work, you are considered the more financially responsible spouse, and he could demand alimony from you. As the breadwinner of the family, you cannot force him to pay you alimony, I am afraid. Because you were married for 25 years, it is very likely that he can demand lifetime alimony benefits and the courts may agree. He is 59 and I am 57. Are judges ever empathetic to a woman whose husband refuses to get work??? Absolutely, they are. But this is very much the same situation if the male spouse would be working and the female spouse refused and stayed at home. The laws are written to be gender neutral for the most part, and therefore having the courts order you to pay alimony rather than you spouse is more and more common.
Kindly remember to only rate my answer when you are fully satisfied. If you feel the need to rate "Helped a little" or "I expected more”, please stop and reply to me via the CONTINUE CONVERSATION button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will be happy to continue further and assist you until I was able to explain your concern to your satisfaction.
Please be aware that if you give any rating below 3 stars then I will not be compensated in any way for helping you today. Good luck to you!
JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin
What about retirement split? i.e. 401 K, IRA's. Is that up to the judge or is that usually split 50/50? Can the working mother ever keep all her retirement?
Thank you for your follow-up, Deanne.My apologies that I did not touch upon that point. ALL assets obtained while married are generally split equitably, meaning that even if he put down nothing into the 401K, he is still entitled to an equitable share of the benefits. The split is up to the judge, although typically retirement accounts are split more or less equally if the accounts were fully earned while married. For example, let's assume that when you married you had $20,000 in your 401K. You now have $100,000. The $20,000 is separate property and you get it back. The remainder, $80,000, is marital, and is split equitably between the spouses. In other words the courts would likely go for a $40,000 split toward each party but they can choose to make a different split that would benefit you more. Having said that, I do not see you keeping all of your retirement unless you can get your spouse to agree to waive his rights to that benefit (which is very unlikely).Good luck.Dimitry Esquire41090.7111211806
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).