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Dealing with unemployment during divorce

When people in Maryland decide to divorce, they can face a range of changes in all aspects of their lives. In addition, some unrelated situations can have an impact on how the divorce progresses. For example, if one spouse loses a job during divorce negotiations, it can affect decisions about child or spousal support. This does not mean that a spouse who becomes unemployed during the divorce will shed his or her support obligations; instead, the court is likely to look at the reasons for unemployment as well as future job prospects.

If a divorcing spouse lost a job due to layoffs, restructuring or a similar issue, that person would be well-placed to argue for a change in support obligations that reflects current income accurately. On the other hand, if the job loss was a firing for cause due to misconduct or the laid-off spouse is not seeking new employment, the court may hold that person to their prior income levels when determining their support obligations. The same is true for lower-earning spouses; if they lose a job for cause, they are unlikely to receive additional spousal support.

Each divorcing couple can negotiate this issue in different ways. In some cases, support agreements might stipulate a formula that would change when new employment is obtained. In most cases, this would reflect a percentage of income based on a sliding scale.

Divorcing spouses who lose a job during the process should be careful to document their activities, including their current efforts to obtain new employment. This documentation can be critical in divorce negotiations and when dealing with a family court. A family law attorney may provide advice and guidance on how to negotiate a fair settlement on property division and spousal support during a period of unemployment.

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