The current pandemic has put many marriages under strain. The financial difficulties of being furloughed or outright fired can make this tension even worse. Just as losing your job can impact your marriage, unemployment can also affect your divorce.
When your income changes, your support obligations could change with them
The state of New York calculates child support and spousal support based, in part, on you and your spouse’s income. The unemployed spouse will usually pay less than if they had full-time employment. The court order may be modified to reflect their salary after they find work in the future.
Unemployed spouses may also be eligible for spousal support during their unemployment. This support can help ease the financial burden they face and give them the support they need to get back on their feet. It can also provide the support they need to get the education or training they need in the current job market.
However, you must file a petition to have the court consider lowering your support obligation. If you do not file a petition, you will continue to owe the same amount of support. A change in your income does not automatically change your support obligation.
The details of job loss are important
While income is an important aspect when calculating support payments, the court may also consider the reason for job loss during your divorce proceedings. If the unemployed spouse quit their job or was fired due to misconduct, that change of circumstances might not result in decreased child support. The judge may instead require that the unemployed spouse continue to make payments while searching for new employment.
Unemployed spouses may need to keep additional records
Because the court can consider the specifics of unemployment, it is essential to keep records of relevant information. Unemployed spouses should maintain a record of their job search. Showing evidence of applications, interviews and other efforts to find a new job will show the judge that they are making an effort to get back on their feet.
Don’t let financial concerns trap you in an unhappy marriage
While unemployment factors into many divorces, it can also leave couples feeling as though they are trapped. Many stay in unhappy marriages because they are unsure about their ability to support themselves. However, it is important to remember that there are options available to you. The right legal strategy will put you on the path to a happier life and protect your finances.
When unemployment has an irreparable strain on your marriage or created additional challenges in your divorce, you can still find your happily ever after.