My son’s expected financial obligations of leaving his pregnant wife?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My son’s expected financial obligations of leaving his pregnant wife?

My son is 32 years, just lost his job of 10 years, is currently unemployed. His wife,
30 years old, is 5.5 months pregnant with their only child, is fully employed with
health benefits. Their only assets are his 150,000 401k. If he leaves her now
what can he expect his responsibility be to her and their unborn child going
forward? Since he is unemployed? Thanks.

Asked on May 13, 2018 under Family Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Regardless of his employment status, he will have to pay child support unless he gets primary custody of the child: the non-custodieal parent *always* has a child-support obligation.
If your son has greater earning potential (even if currently unemployed) and/or has provided more of the family's economic support/money while married, he will likely have to pay spousal support (alimony) to her, too--unemployment does not protect him from doing this as long as he *can* work (is not disabled), since the court presumes he will get another job.
If she earned more, contributed more to the family, has greater earning potential, etc. than him, she may have to pay him support.
It is impossible to say exactly what he will pay, since that depends on circumstances: his and her earning potential, the family's standard of living, etc. But he will almost certainly have to pay something (at least child support). He should meet with a family or matrimonial law attorney to discuss his situation, so as to understand his rights and obligations.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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