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Dealing with job loss when a marriage ends

Kentucky couples going through a divorce usually hope to avoid added stress during this time of transition. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances happen, such as one spouse losing a job. This change of dynamics can affect everything from how spousal or child support payments are handled to the preparation of settlement agreements.

With job loss during a divorce, the court usually bases decisions on the circumstances involved. If a job is lost because layoffs or other uncontrollable situations, a judge is more likely to be more understanding and accommodating. However, if a person's unemployment is due to his or her own actions, the court is less likely to make adjustments for divorce-related financial obligations. Even so, both parties are typically encouraged to be realistic about how a spouse's job loss affects the divorce process.

If the individual who was ordered to pay alimony or child support isn't able to do so until he or she is working again, the settlement agreement might include a sliding scale that will be used to determine how much he or she will pay from his or her salary once re-employed. The purpose of the scale is to keep payments reasonable to avoid overburdening the paying spouse. A similar formula may be used if the higher-earning individual is ordered to pay more in support to a lower-earning ex-spouse who lost his or her job until he or she is working again. A court may also ask to see documentation of job-search efforts in order to prove that an out-of-work spouse is actively seeking work.

The role of a divorce attorney is to make the process of ending a marriage as orderly and practical as possible. When job loss is part of the equation, a lawyer might recommend that an affected client consult with an accountant to get a better idea of what financial resources he or she still has available. Such information may also be used during the negotiation process.

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