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What happens when your spouse faces job loss during a divorce?

You are in the middle of support negotiations with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, when they lose their job. This may be a shock to both of you – and it may throw a wrench in the negotiations. It does not mean that negotiations stop, however.

Job loss during a divorce is never ideal – but there are pathways through it. Here’s what you need to know:

Learning the facts

When your spouse loses their job during your divorce, do your due diligence. Look into the types of financial assets they still have and whether there is a severance package. Understanding your spouse’s finances regarding the job loss circumstances – as well as any deferred compensation – can help you understand your entitlements.

If you believe that your spouse intentionally lost their job or is refusing to seek out employment to avoid spousal support, these are allegations that you need to back up with evidence. Likewise, if your spouse worked for a family member, make sure the job loss is not a front.

Negotiating spousal support

Stay realistic in your negotiations if your spouse was supposed to pay support. Without a job, they cannot supply the agreed upon spousal support, but this does not mean that spousal support is off the table. Instead, turn the negotiations towards the future. The two of you can create a formula and integrate it into the agreement.

Since you cannot predict the new income of your spouse once they re-enter the workforce, the formula deals in percentages. Your ex would agree to pay a percentage of their income when re-employed. The percentage may also be on a sliding scale. For instance, lower-income individuals may pay a lower percentage than high-income earners.

Coming to an agreement with your ex on spousal support can be tricky – as you both have different interests at stake. Your family law attorney can work with you to determine an amount of spousal support that’s fair to you as well as feasible for your ex.