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What if I Lose My Job During Divorce?

March 5, 2021

An unexpected and unwanted job loss can be extremely difficult, especially when someone is going through a divorce. Questions about alimony and child support agreements can increase stress. Much of what happens in the divorce will depend on what caused the job loss. If the person was fired because of misconduct, they could still be responsible for making payments to their ex-spouse. However, if the job loss was not their fault, the chances for getting modifications may increase. A spouse who cannot work because of an illness or an accident is in a better position to argue that there needs to be modifications.

When a lower earning spouse loses their job, the partner who is still employed at the higher income level might be ordered to pay more support to them. As a guideline, a court wants to ensure that the family can maintain the same lifestyle that they were accustomed to before the divorce proceedings began.

How can Child Custody be Impacted?

A court also prioritizes a child’s best interests when deciding on child custody matters. They will look to see how well each parent is able to care for them, and a job loss could certainly affect that. Someone who worked 40 hours a week and paid for child care might be able to spend more time with the children when they are not working.

If either parent gets a new job during the divorce process, they might have to work shorter or longer hours, nights, or weekends. This could greatly impact an existing visitation schedule.

What Should I Do After a Job Loss?

It is important to let the other spouse know about the job loss as soon as possible. Maintaining open communications and being realistic about the situation will go a long way toward resolving the problem. Flexibility is also important when it comes to discussing reductions in monetary support, carpooling, and child care.

Both parties can try to negotiate at this point and write up an agreement about the payments. There could be a sliding scale that increases after the spouse gets a new job. The newly unemployed spouse also needs to make sincere efforts to find a new job that was comparable to the old one. While doing so, they should keep records of the employment search, including companies applied to, dates and times of interviews, and any job offers.

Agreements that are written up and shared by two people are not legally enforceable. A more practical solution could be to consult with a divorce lawyer who can help with modifying the divorce agreements.

How can Divorce Agreements be Changed?

Alabama divorce courts consider many elements before handing down divorce decrees. They will want to know each spouse’s current and future earning capabilities, their separate and shared assets and property, the standard of living that existed during the marriage, their age and health, and if they have children. Since so much goes into finalizing a divorce, they are not always easy to change.

If the job loss occurs before the divorce is finalized, it may be possible to overturn it through an appeal. Once everything has been settled, ex-spouses may still be able to overturn their divorce decrees by going through an appeals process. This would start by either party appealing to a higher court. If both spouses had agreed to the original terms, it could be challenging to have them overturned.

An appeal can be successful if there was a significant error during the trial. Following the county and state’s filing procedures may also increase one’s chances. Motions to modify divorce decrees can be more appropriate for dealing with job loss during divorce. Not only are they less expensive than appeals, they can be used to change child support and custody arrangements, visitations, alimony, and property division.

How can I Modify My Divorce Decree?

The first step is to file a motion to modify the divorce decree. There may be a form for this available on local, state, and county court websites. The motion must include detailed information about the person’s new circumstances and why the changes are necessary.

After the petition is completed, it has to be filed with the court and then be served to the spouse. A hearing date will be scheduled. During this time, both sides can present their sides of the argument. In some cases, both spouses agree that a modification is needed, so court appearances may not be necessary if the paperwork is completed correctly. It can be difficult to get a court to agree on modifying child custody, but if they agree that it is in the children’s best interests, changes may be made. A lawyer can help with this process.

Huntsville Divorce Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Divorcing Couples with Appeals and Modifications to Divorce Decrees

If you are dealing with a job loss during your divorce, consult with a knowledgeable Huntsville divorce lawyer at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. We know how difficult this can be, and we are ready to help you navigate through your changed circumstances. For an initial consultation, complete our online form or call us at 256-539-3110. We have offices in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, and we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.