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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

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Divorce can cause tough times for dependent spouses

Divorce has been a particularly hot topic in the state of New Jersey as of late. The focus has been on alimony reform and how current legislation is supposedly unfair to those that make the most income. These individuals are, according to advocates for reform, assigned long-term alimony that they are required to pay for the rest of their lives, even in situations where the paying spouse has become incapacitated while the payee is still capable of working.

Some want to hear about the women that spend their lives performing domestic work, living the life of the socially-ascribed wife, relying fully on their husbands for finances, only to have all of that pulled out from underneath them when the husband files for divorce. These women -- and sometimes men -- are sometimes so financially dependent on their spouses that they cannot afford an attorney.

Those who believe they cannot afford an attorney often give up without trying obtaining their fair share from the divorce. This can leave them destitute and struggling for years to come. In such cases, a judge may order the higher-paid spouse to afford the legal fees of their former husband or wife.

Divorces like this often end with support payments being required of the primary wage earner so that the stay-at-home spouse can find a way to make a living. If the latter spouse is given custody of the children, he or she will likely have to relearn how to support themselves. When married, that spouse could focus on the children and the home without worrying about a job. However, divorce brings massive change -- emotionally, socially and financially -- that few are prepared for.

In general, society has embraced the independent woman, but many females still find themselves living a domestic life, relying heavily, if not wholly, on their male counterpart for income. Some believe that no woman should dedicate herself fully to this lifestyle because it can result in an extremely hard life after a divorce.

Source: Asbury Park Press, "Financially dependent women hurt after divorce," June 19, 2012

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