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Divorce and Money: When the Wife Makes More Than Her Husband


By: Janice Dantes


In my practice, I represent many RN wives who are highly-educated and command six fi gure salaries. They are not only the breadwinners, but they are also the main caregiver for the children. Despite these qualities, their marriages are falling apart. Typically, the husband has an affair. One day, I will write a book on this as this scenario is so common in our Filipino community, a community with an extremely Catholic tradition.

Below are some important things to keep in mind if you are contemplating divorce as the wife who makes more money:

1. Be careful about “marrying down.” I am not trying to create a class divide. However, I am just simply trying to advise parties with an income disparity, particularly for women, that your spouse is entitled to half of the marital estate. Men for decades have been paying their stay-at-home wives alimony. Now, we are seeing women making more money than their husbands and having to pay alimony. I find that my women clients have a difficult time accepting that they have to pay their lazy, cheating husband. All I can tell them is that well you chose to marry the lazy, cheating husband. My advice is pay him off, cut your losses, and move on with your life.

2. Illinois is a no fault state. This means that bad acts by a spouse are not punished. For example, a cheating husband is not entitled to less of the marital estate because he cheated. In fact, the cheating husband who might be a part-time caregiver taking trips to the Philippines to see his mistress can still be entitled to alimony and half of the RN wife’s retirement benefits. Keep this in mind if you are the wealthier wife seeking a divorce.

3. Don’t wait too long to get divorced. I find that many of my clients have been in unhappy marriages for 20 years and only decide to get divorced after being roommates for 15 of the 20 years of the marriage. Anything acquired during the course of the marriage can be deemed marital property. If you bought a house and car during the course of your marriage but were separated 15 years, your spouse may still try to claim half. If the marriage is not working, don’t be afraid to pull the plug.

While you can’t choose who you fall in love with, you can always choose who you marry. Picking a spouse is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. Make sure you pick a good one because it can be a costly mistake. If you are contemplating divorce, please contact me at (312) 546-5077 or janice@pinaylaw.com. Thank you for reading. Until we meet again, love one another.

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