When the two people involved in a divorce are both self-employed, one of them will be entitled to benefits like retirement account contributions. However, in order to obtain these benefits, the non-working spouse will need to gather information before the divorce and during the divorce. Fortunately, attorneys can perform discovery to collect this information.

Most divorce judges will try to balance the needs of both spouses. While some state laws define a “need” as the minimum amount needed to meet basic living expenses, individual judges look for ways to make sure that each spouse shares the financial pain equally. For example, a judge will not award an extra million dollars to a non-working spouse while the other spouse lives in a substandard three-bedroom apartment and has to take public transportation.

For the nonworking spouse, there are other types of alimony. These include rehabilitative alimony, which is meant to support the non-working spouse while they return to the workforce or land a better paying gig. This process can take years, and the non-working spouse may be required to complete further education or provide evidence that they are actively looking for work.

Judges look at how much income each party earns and how much income they can generate. If one spouse is earning $200,000 per year as a lawyer, while the other is earning only half that, the judge may impute his or her income. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, the judge may award more or less support.

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