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What if My Spouse is Capable of Work But Refuses to Do So?

Is your former spouse refusing to work? California Family Code Section 4320 mandates that, when awarding alimony, the court must consider whether your spouse can become self supporting within a “reasonable period of time.”

You may be required to provide your spouse with alimony for a period of time after a marriage ends, but usually your ex eventually has to get a job that he or she can live on. While the court has discretion to award alimony for a longer period, and alimony may be permanent in cases where a marriage was considered to be of a “long duration,” you usually won’t have to continue providing funds to your ex on an indefinite basis.

If your spouse is capable of work but refuses to do so, this should not have an impact on you… if you have a spousal support order in place that ends after a specific duration. However, if your spousal support order is conditioned on your spouse moving forward with seeking training or employment, you can sometimes go back to court and show your ex is not cooperating with the requirements.

An Irvine, CA divorce attorney can provide you with advice on what to do if your spouse is capable of work but refuses to get a job during the divorce process or after the divorce. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has helped many clients through the difficult process of ending a marriage and we can provide the assistance and advice you need.

What if Your Spouse is Capable of Work But Refuses to Get a Job?

When your marriage ends, you and your spouse can try to come to an agreement on alimony or a judge can award spousal support base on income disparities, the length of the marriage, the contributions each party made, and many other factors.

A judge may order you to pay spousal support for a set period of time, to give your spouse time to get back to work. This could be equal to half the length of your marriage, or to some other designated period depending upon what is appropriate in your situation.

With this type of spousal support order, you can stop paying when the court order no longer requires you to. If your spouse is capable of work but refuses to get a job, that is no longer your problem once you have fulfilled your court obligations for paying support.

If your support order is conditioned on your spouse getting a job, however, then you may feel as if you are going to be stuck paying forever until your ex finds work. This is especially frustrating if your spouse is capable of work but refuses to apply for or obtain a job.

You can go to court and argue that your spouse is not making a reasonable effort to find work. The burden of proof is on you in these cases to show your spouse has opportunity, ability, and earning capacity. A vocational exam pursuant to Family Code 4331 typically involves a vocational evaluator  assessing your ex’s ability to obtain employment while allowing him or herself to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. A vocational exam can be helpful in a divorce proceeding where the couple has fundamental disagreements on alimony.

Because you have to make your case to end spousal support if you are paying and feel you shouldn’t be, it is imperative you have a good legal advocate on your side. Contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to get help from an Irvine divorce lawyer.