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How can a non-working spouse become independent during a divorce?

| May 8, 2020 | Divorce |

Although many families in North Dakota have two working spouses, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, one spouse stays home to take care of the family home, ailing parents or children. Other times, even though both spouses work, one of them earns substantially more than the other.

The lower-earning or non-working spouse may worry about whether they can earn enough money to rent their own apartment and pay their insurance premiums. If there are children involved, those financial pressures are even higher.

Someone who doesn’t currently earn enough money to live independently doesn’t have to stay in a toxic relationship as a result. Divorce in North Dakota can provide access to a number of systems that can benefit previously dependent spouses on their pathway to independence, including spousal support.

Non-working spouses can ask the courts to order alimony

Alimony, also sometimes called spousal maintenance or spousal support, involves a higher-earning spouse paying regularly toward the maintenance and upkeep of their former, lower-earning or non-working spouse after the divorce.

Most North Dakota alimony circumstances are temporary, with the focus being on allowing the dependent spouse to obtain an education or work history that will put them in the position to command a living wage.

The courts will look at your economic situation during asset division

The North Dakota courts apply the equitable division standard to your marital property. They will typically divide assets and income that you and your spouse earn during your marriage, even if one spouse earns substantially less than the other or nothing at all.

If you were used to a relatively comfortable standard of living, that will also factor into how the courts divide assets, as well as what they order for both alimony and child support, if applicable in your case.

Start thinking about what you need for true independence

Becoming independent after years of living while depending on a spouse isn’t easy or fast. Spending some time thinking about what you need and what it will take to get you from your current situation to a more sustainable one will give you an idea of what resources and support you will need in order to move forward.

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