Money (Or Lack Thereof) Can Change Everything During a Divorce
If you are wondering how losing your job affects divorce, you are likely feeling many emotions. Even when everything else in life is going swimmingly, being on the receiving end of a pink slip can fill a person with shock, anxiety, worry, anger, and sadness. But when you lose your job at the same time your marriage is ending, the experience can be even more jarring and disruptive.
That is because losing your job affects divorce in several financial, practical, and emotional ways. Even after the entry of your final Colorado divorce decree, getting fired or laid off can still have a significant impact if you have ongoing child support or spousal maintenance obligations.
Unsurprisingly, the financial impact of losing your source of income is the most prominent way unemployment affects divorce proceedings and the many issues that intersect with the spouses’ respective ability to support themselves and their children. Because losing your source of income can affect how the parties and a judge approach property division, spousal maintenance, and child support decisions, divorce must be handled carefully.
As you cope with job loss and face the challenge of finding a new position, here is what you need to know about how losing your job affects divorce. The first step is to hire a Colorado Springs divorce attorney and follow their expert advice.
According to Forbes.com, one spouse’s job loss can change the calculus of determining how the couple’s assets and debts should be divided. In some cases, one spouse may argue that the other’s unemployment should not impact the share of the marital property they receive. Conversely, the unemployed spouse may contend that their lack of a steady or sufficient income or their inability to secure new employment makes them more dependent on the assets and should be considered when dividing them.
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Another area in which losing your job affects divorce is when one spouse is the sole breadwinner or earns significantly more than the other. In such cases, the El Paso County judge presiding over your divorces may order that the higher-earning spouse pay the other one spousal maintenance for a designated period. But, if that breadwinner loses their job, their ability to make such payments and the fairness of imposing such an obligation may be questioned. Conversely, the unemployed spouse may require more extensive support due to the loss of their income.
Initial and Ongoing Child Support Obligations
Losing your job affects divorce, especially in cases where child support obligations are part of the equation.
Many factors determine how much one parent must pay the custodial parent for child support. In addition to the child’s needs and what is in their best interests, a court will factor in the parties’ respective financial circumstances, including their present incomes. The loss of a job can result in lower income for the paying spouse, and depending on the nature and duration of their unemployment, a judge may factor the loss of income into their calculations.
If the paying spouse loses their job and income after the entry of the final divorce decree, child support amounts that may have once made sense may no longer be appropriate or feasible. In such cases, the unemployed parent can ask El Paso County courts for a reduction in their child support obligations, so long as their changed circumstances were not of their own making.
Before a judge considers adjusting the amount of child support, the parent requesting the adjustment must show a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances,” resulting in a 10 percent or more change in the current child support obligation. Losing your job during divorce qualifies as a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances,” as does a significant pay cut or taking a new job that pays much less than the parent earned before losing their job.
Child Custody and Visitation
Suppose the parent seeking primary custody of a child loses their job. In that case, the other spouse may assert that they are not financially able to provide for the child and, therefore, are unfit for primary custody. Job loss can also lead to disputes over visitation schedules, as the unemployed spouse may request more extensive visitation to compensate for their job loss-related absence.
Suppose these circumstances occur due to your or your ex’s job loss. In that case, you need an attorney experienced in child support, custody, and spousal support modifications to protect your interests.
Emotional Stress and Clouded Decision-Making
As noted, losing your job affects divorce in numerous ways. Job loss can be an emotionally taxing experience, even in the best of times. In a divorce, the whirlwind of emotions that come with being out of work combines with the intense feelings inherent at the end of a marriage to create even more volatility and stress. The stress of losing a job can impact decision-making and the ability to compromise, as a heightened level of anxiety and frustration can cause the unemployed spouse to make impulsive or emotionally driven choices during negotiations. In turn, this can lead to more prolonged and more contentious divorce proceedings and the increased legal fees and court costs fees that follow.
Ultimately, the many ways that losing your job affects divorce underlines the importance of seeking experienced divorce counsel who can help you navigate a complex and unexpected situation.
Call Colorado Springs Divorce Attorneys Perkins Law Today
Getting what you want in your divorce settlement agreement requires an experienced Colorado Springs divorce attorney who understands Colorado law and how to make it work for you. If you are anticipating a divorce, please contact Perkins Law today to arrange for your free initial consultation. We are ready, waiting, and willing to help you every step of the way along your divorce journey.