Quatela Chimeri, PLLC

Can my spouse force me to work?

Before getting married, many people make assumptions. For example, a woman may assume that her high-earning spouse will not mind if she does not work, especially if there are children. Conversely, that high-earning spouse may assume that his fiancee will continue to work and is dismayed to find out after the wedding that she plans to quit her job.

To be sure, work and finances can be complicated, especially if discussions before marriage have not taken place or have been incomplete. You may be at a place now where you feel pressured to work and are wondering if your spouse can demand that you do.

The answer is no

In a nutshell, no one can force you to work. Your spouse can demand that you work, but as far as forcing goes, that is not legal. However, disagreements over whether you work are serious and can threaten your marriage. Perhaps your spouse even views you as having what is termed "refuse to work" syndrome

A counselor can talk with the two of you individually and together. It will be helpful to sort out the reasons why your spouse thinks you should work and why you do not want to. For example, if you want to stay at home with the children, your spouse may resent you because he wants to do the same but cannot because you refuse to work. It might be that the two of you could reach a compromise where both of you work part-time or he works for three years and then you agree to work for the next three years. People can get really creative sometimes and come up with effective solutions.

Marriage breakup

It could be that counseling does not resolve the issue, and your marriage seems about to break up. Depending on how long you have been married and other factors such as your standard of living and potential to earn income, you could be in line to receive spousal support for a certain period of time.

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Quatela Chimeri PLLC
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Hauppauge, NY 11788

Phone: 631-482-9700
Fax: 631-482-9707
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