The divorce process has many parameters that each spouse must consider. The division of assets and property, how to handle child custody, and the possibility of spousal or child support are just some of the issues. It is not something that most people take lightly.
There are so many things that can change the circumstances around a pending or completed divorce agreement. One potential problem that you and your ex may end up navigating here in Maryland is the loss of one of your jobs. It can be a stressful event on its own, but when coupled with divorce, it raises many questions. Fortunately, if this happens during your divorce, experts have advice that can help.
Why did the job loss happen?
The first thing the court will want to know is why you or your ex lost the job. Sometimes, losing a job is not the employee's fault. Companies decide to lay off staff all the time for various reasons. When this occurs, most courts will take it into consideration when determining spousal or child support. This assumes that the person who suffered the job loss is also actively seeking reemployment.
If you or your spouse did something to cause the job loss, the situation may be different. For example, if the employee was fired because of some unethical behavior, a judge might not be so understanding.
How will a job loss affect a support agreement?
If the employee who lost the job is also the one paying spousal or child support, the court may include a provision in the divorce agreement to reflect that. The unemployed spouse may have to pay a percentage of his or her income once he or she has a new job. Implementing a sliding scale based on income might be the best way to handle this kind of situation.
However, in the opposite scenario where the person who suffered the job loss is the one receiving spousal or child support, a court may decide to reflect that in the divorce agreement. The judge could order the paying spouse to pay a higher amount until the receiving spouse has a new job. Courts do this with the intention of keeping a family at the same level of lifestyle.
What if I'm the one who lost my job?
Experts say there are several tips to follow if you lose your job during your divorce. You should ensure you are doing everything in your power to find a new job and keep a written record of anything you do to that end. This might include writing down when you have an interview, how much time you spend job searching and more. Experts caution against taking a job that pays significantly less money, even if it is one you really feel you want. That may not sit well with a judge.
What if my spouse is the one who lost his or her job?
The advice for this side of the problem boils down to being as realistic and understanding as possible. However, you still need to stay informed of exactly what your spouse may or may not have financially, including any severance packages, future payments for completed work or other financial matters. If you're concerned that the job loss may not be real, for example, your spouse works for a family member or friend who might want to help them pay less spousal or child support, you may want to look into that.
If your spouse's job loss makes the news, collect any press releases or news articles that relate to the event. It could help prove your case to the court. Your attorney can assist you with those kinds of matters and help you get the full picture.
Hopefully, you won't experience losing a job and getting a divorce at the same time. If you do, using an attorney may be the most effective way to ensure that the entire matter is properly managed.