Every day is the same.
You wake up. You get ready, cook, clean up, get yourself and the kids ready, and head off to work after dropping your kids off at school.
You work hard ALL day.
You come home to find your home still a mess – worse than it was when you left this morning.
After a long day of work, you have to (again), cook for everyone, clean up, clean the house, take care of the kids… You get it.
Your husband isn’t pulling his weight. And worse??
He won’t get a stable job that can help support your family.
Have felt resentment building up for months – maybe even years.
And, quite frankly, you’re tired of it.
You’re not alone. Unemployed spouses are some of the most common reasons for divorce.
So, what are the implications and things you NEED to know when divorcing a husband who won’t work?
That’s what we’re covering today, so keep reading.
Divorcing A Husband Who Won’t Work
The main legal things you need to think of when divorcing an unemployed husband center around child support, alimony, and distribution of property.
The divorce courts will look at your husband not working in two categories; voluntary and involuntary.
If your husband is INTENTIONALLY not working, this will normally work in your favor during the divorce.
For example, let’s say your husband was laid off from work. Maybe he’s an engineer or a mechanic. But the only jobs he can find are jobs restocking shelves at a local warehouse.
Technically, he CAN find work and become employed. The problem is that these jobs don’t fit what he wants to do or the amount he wants to get paid.
So he’d rather just not work.
This is voluntary unemployment. It doesn’t matter that he was laid off. What matters is that he has the opportunity to have a job.
Basically, if ‘my husband won’t get a job’ is your scenario, you’re probably going to get favorable terms.
And if he cannot prove to the judge that he has been looking for a job, this would also be categorized as voluntary unemployment.
Let’s assume that your unemployed husband HAS been looking for jobs, though.
If he’s anything like me when I used to look for new jobs, I’d apply to literally EVERY SINGLE JOB that was slightly relevant to my degree or experience.
This meant that I was applying to like 20 jobs a day. (Living in Atlanta meant I had a lot of opportunity.)
If your husband can show that he’s applying to relevant jobs aggressively like this, but he still can’t find a job, then this could lead to your unemployed husband owing less in spousal or child support.
But that’s not always the case. A lot of times, the divorce lawyer for your husband will have to explain certain issues for the client such as additional debt, lack of work experience, or other matters.
These are important things to consider when divorcing a husband with no job.
So, what are the rights of an unemployed husband in divorce when your husband doesn’t provide?
Unemployment and Child Support
Your husband is still obligated to pay child support when unemployed.
If he skips making child support payments during his unemployment, he will still have to pay them back at a later date.
Sometimes, these late payments can even include interest. Mo money!
But what if my husband doesn’t WANT to work anymore and he just never pays?
That means your husband could end up with fines or jail time.
Your unemployed husband still has to support his children after a divorce.
But, his unemployment may impact how much he has to pay and for what he will have to pay.
If there is an existing court order that requires him to pay you a certain amount in child support every month, he is obligated to continue paying that amount, regardless of his employment status.
That is, unless he petitions the court to decrease his support based on unemployment.
Judges tend to be fairly sympathetic to an unemployed parent seeking a reduction in child support payments.
But they must also balance the competing needs of the custodial parent and the children.
This means that no matter whether your husband is unemployed or not, he will have to pay the minimum amount of child support for your state.
Unemployment and Spousal Support
Think spousal support only goes to the wife?
Not if you’re divorcing an unemployed husband.
If your husband is unemployed when you get a divorce, he may ask the court for alimony, or spousal support, as part of the divorce order.
The divorce laws allow the divorce courts can basically make this decision how they well please.
They take multiple factors into consideration when determining if he should get alimony.
(This is especially true if you guys didn’t set up a prenup alimony prior to getting married.)
Let’s assume that you and your husband decided that he would be a stay at home dad while you were the breadwinner.
The divorce courts would take your unemployed husband’s age and opportunities to go back to school into account. As well as his ability to get a decent paying job.
If he is relatively young, a judge may order temporary alimony to extend just a few years after your divorce.
This provides him with an income long enough to earn a degree, learn a trade, or develop a skill so he’ll eventually earn his own living wage.
Division of Property During Divorce
The outcome of division of property during when divorcing your unemployed husband really depends on the state you live in.
Do you live in a community property state or an equitable distribution state?
In community property states, both spouses equally own property acquired during a marriage, regardless of who actually paid for it.
So, in a divorce proceeding, a judge typically divides marital property 50/50.
Even if your husband won’t work and let you earn all the income, he is still entitled to half of all marital property.
Thought you were resenting unemployed husband during marriage? Imagine losing HALF of your assets that YOU bought when divorcing a husband with no job.
By contrast, in equitable distribution states, a judge divides marital property based on equity—what’s fair.
This does not always mean a 50/50 split.
If your husband is unemployed because of a disability that makes him unable to work, a judge may grant him a larger share of the property.
Divorce proceedings can get complicated fairly quickly.
If you need help with property settlement, it might be a good idea to get some help from an attorney.
How to Divorce A Husband Who Won’t Work
If you’re considering divorcing a husband who won’t work, then you’re probably wondering what your options are.
You really have two options here.
But which one is better for your situation?
If you think you will have an amicable divorce, then you can just use divorce papers that you fill out and send to your local divorce courts in your county.
Amicable just means that you and your husband are going to fairly easily agree on how to split things and the terms of your divorce.
Amicable divorces where you print off divorce papers and submit them yourself are the most affordable divorces.
You may be able to make your divorce even cheaper by filling out and having a mutual separation agreement filled out and ready for your separation attorney.
But if you’re going to have a contested divorce where there’s going to be a lot of heavy-hitting battles about who gets what then you’ll probably want to hire a divorce attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are the top questions that we get from our clients when they are divorcing their husbands who won’t get a job.
What is a deadbeat husband?
A deadbeat husband is a man who refuses to provide for his family. When you’re married to a deadbeat husband, you have to support him financially, be LESS successful to make him feel comfortable, and do EVERYTHING for him.
How do you deal with an unemployed husband?
If your unemployed husband is trying, then help him find a job, be positive, encourage him, and don’t make snide remarks to him. If your husband is unemployed and lazy and not looking for a job, you’ll have to figure out how to support the family on your own or consider divorce.
Do I have to pay alimony if my husband refuses to work?
If you’re divorcing an unemployed husband who is lazy and won’t work, then the divorce courts will take this into consideration and you will have to pay little or no alimony if your husband refuses to work.