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Forcing my spouse back to work when we separate

Anonymous Asked:

My wife has been stay at home mom for over 9 years of a 17 year marriage. I've wanted her to go back to work but she has found every reason not to go back. We are nearing separation and my income alone won't support 3 kids and 2 homes. We go into debt monthly on just my income under one roof. She will seek as much spousal as she can from me. Is there any way to force her back to work a full time job in the event of a separation and then divorce? I want joint custody as well.

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10 months ago

You have raised two concerns. In terms of joint custody, we would need to speak with you to learn about your factual circumstances. For example, you mention that you have three children; however, you did not note their ages which is important information.
In terms of forcing your wife to go back to work, no you cannot. However, depending on your facts it is possible to make an argument that income should be imputed to her when calculating the child support and/or spousal support obligations. In essence, an imputation means that if, for example, you earn $50,000 per annum, and a Court imputes $50,000 per annum to her (meaning that the Court finds that she should be earning $50,000 per annum even if she is not working) then the chances of spousal support should be slim. However, of course, you should speak with a family law lawyer who can assess your unique facts in relation to the law.

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