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Unemployment during a divorce can be a thorny issue

Getting laid off or fired during a divorce can make an already difficult situation even more stressful for spouses in Oregon and around the country. It can also add a layer of complexity to spousal support negotiations. Spouses who are expected to pay alimony may not be in a position to do so while searching for a new job. On the reverse side, spouses who receive spousal support could need more money to maintain their lifestyle while unemployed.

In these situations, the courts will generally look into the causes of unemployment, and spouses who were laid off through no fault of their own are likely to be treated more sympathetically than those who were fired for misconduct. A family law judge may also ask an unemployed spouse to provide details about the events leading up to their job loss and records of their efforts to find new work.

Temporary unemployment may be addressed during divorce negotiations by adding provisions to the support agreement that allow alimony to be lowered or raised on a sliding scale. Spouses could receive or be expected to pay lower or higher amounts of alimony while unemployed. The final figure may be based on the salary that the unemployed spouse is offered when they find a new job. These arrangements usually feature minimum and maximum amounts of spousal support.

Unfortunately, some spouses deliberately sabotage their financial situations during divorce negotiations. An experienced family law attorney may look for evidence of this kind of behavior during the discovery process. Legal counsel could seek to find out more about the circumstances surrounding a spouse’s unemployment and whether or not their efforts to find a new job are genuine. These efforts could prompt further investigations as a spouse who arranges temporary financial setbacks for themselves during a divorce may also be concealing or undervaluing assets.