From the beginning of the separation process to the final dissolution of a marriage, both parts of a couple, typically, will experience a great deal of stress. Most Massachusetts couples in this situation face many difficult decisions as well as a general upheaval of their accustomed lifestyle. Unfortunately, sometimes, while a person is going through the divorce process, he or she encounters additional challenges, such as a job loss. Other than the obvious fallout from employment loss, people finding themselves in this situation during divorce negotiations may worry about how the courts will handle the change in financial circumstances.
Firstly, the court will want to know the reason for the job loss. If the job loss was due to circumstances beyond the person’s control, such as a layoff, that person could then, rightfully, argue that, for the purposes of determining spousal and/or child support obligations, the court should not consider his or her income level prior to termination. Of course, the unemployed person must be making a sincere effort to secure comparable employment elsewhere. However, if the job loss is due to negative behavior, the court will likely consider that person’s financial responsibility based on the previous income. Both parties need to be realistic about what they can provide financially, and the court can provide various options, depending on individual circumstances.
In order to best navigate the job loss situation, divorcing individuals on both sides can keep a few tips in mind. The person who has lost his or her job should be actively looking for new employment and, ideally, seeking a position with a commensurate salary. The person whose spouse has lost his or her job is wise to set realistic expectations, given the circumstances, but also to be sure he or she is fully informed about relevant financial details.
It is easy for divorcing people to feel overwhelmed by the many tasks that require attention during the divorce process. Factoring in a job loss for either party can potentially add even more stress. However, each party should remain open-minded and remember the goal of reaching an agreement that works for everyone. A knowledgeable Massachusetts family law attorney can assist divorcing individuals with negotiating all aspects of the process.