Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Income disparity and divorce

Some Virginia couples may have a significant disparity in income. Although usually it is the husband making more money, women are taking the lead in this regard in increasing numbers. As the number of two-career couples grows, spouses may start to argue about issues such as child care and housework. If these arguments lead to divorce, the income disparity may become an issue.

There are steps people can take to protect themselves financially in such an event. Talking openly about finances is important. Couples may also want to consider a postnuptial agreement that details how property will be divided in case of a divorce. Without this agreement, state law may determine how property is divided.

People, and women in particular, may want to keep an account that has only their money in it. Having an individual credit card and maintaining a separate credit rating may be important as well. If a person owns a business, this should also be protected.

Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements may still be challenged in court. If the arrangement seems unfair or it appears that one person did not get adequate legal counsel, the agreement might be overturned. Agreements may also be considered invalid if they address issues outside the scope of prenups such as child custody. However, this does not mean that couples must accept a court's decision about property division. They might instead negotiate the issue with the assistance of their respective attorneys. If there is a large income discrepancy, the higher-earning party might be required to pay support to the lower-earning one for a certain period of time. This alimony may not be permanent and might only be paid during the time that the recipient is training or getting an education that will lead to a better job.

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