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How will problems at work affect your divorce agreement?

A company that has been struggling has few options if management wants to keep the business afloat. One of those options is to trim staff.

You may be one of the employees the company has decided to let go. How will this business decision affect the divorce agreement you and your former spouse have in place?

Sharing the news

In addition to having to look for a new job, you pay monthly alimony and child support. You receive severance pay and you may have a little money set aside, but that will not last long since you have a house payment and the usual monthly bills to think about. You contact your ex-spouse to explain that you want to modify the divorce agreement by lowering the alimony and child support payments until you find suitable employment.

Keeping the pressure on

Perhaps your expertise is in engineering: a precise type of engineering. Your ex-spouse knows it may take time for you to find a new position at the salary level you had achieved, which means that she would have to live on a tighter budget, and so would your young daughter, for who knows how long.

Next steps

If you and your ex can resolve your differences, modifying your divorce agreement should go smoothly, as long as the judge agrees to the terms. However, if issues remain and the two of you cannot work them out, your attorney may be able to solve the problems by working with the attorney who represents your ex. If that fails, you will have to file a motion and attend a court hearing.

A common concern

Losing a job or being hired for a new position at a lesser salary are legitimate reasons for the need to modify a divorce agreement, at least on a temporary basis. You must be able to show the court that there has been a "material change" in your circumstances and be specific about the modification you are requesting. Obtaining the consent of your ex may be more difficult than getting the judge to agree.

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