It can be challenging to keep one’s personal life from intersecting with one’s professional life during a divorce. The task becomes impossible when a spouse loses their job while going through the process. Regardless of whether it is a client or their spouse, there are immediate concerns about how this affects negotiations as well as the final settlement.
First things first
If the case is in the middle of litigation, the judge will want to know the reason for the dismissal.
- Was it due to the employee’s actions?
Those fired due to their actions will not receive compassion from the court, so these actions will probably not alter the newly unemployed spouse’s financial responsibility. The other spouse and their counsel should also do due diligence to determine if the dismissal was part of a clandestine plan. If this the case, they should also look for deferred income or compensation.
- Was it due to circumstances beyond their control?
Widespread layoffs will certainly elicit more patience from the court. This can mean a more modest (and realistic) support plan, particularly if there are sincere efforts to find new comparably paying work. The unemployed should document their job hunt, focus on finding similar work, and not think of it as a time to go back to school or regroup.
Both sides need to be realistic about the financial situation, and the fact there will now be two homes to maintain. The negotiation will likely include some temporary order arrangement involving support during the divorce once the unemployed spouse secures a new job. At that point, the re-employed will be responsible for an amount based on the new income level. If the spouse who loses their job has the lower income level, the other spouse may need to pay more support until the time the spouse is again employed, with time limits and possible “report back” Court dates.
This too shall pass
Employment will come to those who tackle this challenge with a positive mental outlook, ideally with additional support from the family. An experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas can also provide help to clients even under these most difficult circumstances.