What should I expect my wife to be able to receive from me in a divorce?

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What should I expect my wife to be able to receive from me in a divorce?

I would like this to be an uncontested divorce; I’d like to know what is fair for my wife to expect? I’m the sole wage earner. All property is in my name. We have 3 minor children. There has been no abuse or ill treatment, other than the fear she has instilled in me of what I may lose.

Asked on July 3, 2011 under Family Law, Illinois

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your assets and income are considered to be marital assets and what will occur is based on equitable distribution in your state. Illinois I believe is an equitable distribution state, so assets will be divided equitably unless you can or she can prove one is entitled to more than the other. It doesn't matter if property is in your name and it doesn't matter if you are the sole wage earner, it does matter that you have three minor children. Courts oftentimes will side with the custodial parent and may award the home to the custodial parent to keep the children intact. Oftentimes, if the non wage earner has been in a long term marriage and accustomed to a certain lifestyle, the court may take that into consideration, especially concerning alimony and child support, medical insurance and retirement benefits.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Even for a noncontested divorce, you should retain and consult with a divorce attorney to help you negotiate a good settlement--one that is, ideally, fair to you, your wife, and your children. That said, as some guidelines:

1) If you were the sole wage earner, you will almost certainly have to pay your wife some amount of spousal support, at least for several years (e.g. until she can reasonably get back into the workforce and get a stable job) to provide for her cost of living. How much depends on how you and she lived and how much you earned; if you were a highly compensated professional or manager, for example, you could easily pay several thousand a month, while someone earning middle or working class money might pay a few hundred dollars.

2) Assuming she gets child custody--which is very likely, if she was the primary care giver--you'll have to pay child support, too.

3) Assets acquired during marriage, jointly owned marriage, and also jointly acquired debts will be split more-or-less evenly between you.

There's alot of money at stake; you want projessional advice and help in dealing with it. Retain a lawyer to help you--just because you have a lawyer does not mean you need to make this a contentious or adversarial proceeding. Good luck.


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