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The ins and outs of handling job loss during a divorce

For most couples in Illinois, the process of ending a marriage is more than enough to have on their plates. Unfortunately, there are times when one of the divorcing spouses also loses his or her job during this time of transition. Several factors come into play when this happens.

Since the details associated with job loss during divorce varies from case to case, the court usually attempts to get all the information before making any decisions. For example, if someone lost his or her job because of circumstances over which he or she had no control, a court is likely to be reasonable with requests to reconsider spousal or child support obligations. However, this may not be true if a person loses his or her job due to circumstances over which he or she had full control, such as personal misconduct.

Regardless of who lost their job, both spouses are often encouraged to be reasonable with the financial arrangements associated with divorce. If someone can't make support payments until he or she finds another job, it may be stipulated that a certain percentage of his or her income, once reemployed, will go towards such obligations. A formula may be used to ensure this percentage is fair. Conversely, if the lower-earning person loses his or her job, the ex-spouse may be required to provide higher payments until his or her ex finds work again. This is done so people can maintain their lifestyle and/or sufficiently care for children of whom they may have custody.

A divorce lawyer may advise an unemployed spouse to keep records of his or her efforts to find work, such as resumes sent, interviews, networking and similar activities, in case the court asks to see such documentation. A higher-earning client might also be encouraged to seek comparable employment within the same salary range to avoid potential issues with the court. In some situations, an attorney also considers non-obvious financial consequences of a spouse's unemployment when preparing for negotiations.

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