By Tonya Graser Smith
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Great Resignation and perhaps you too are thinking of quitting your job. But if you’re divorced or in the process of divorce, hold up for a minute. There are some things to know before you give notice.
Your spousal and child support situation could change.
If you are switching jobs to make more money, the amount you pay in child support and spousal support could increase. Conversely, the amount you receive – if you receive support payments – could decrease.
But maybe your job change would result in you earning less income or you want to go back to college. You could ask a judge to lower the support payments you are obliged to make, but that might not happen. After all, you have already proven the ability to earn a certain level of income. And the same is true of asking a judge to increase payments if you are on the receiving end.
If you need or want to quit your job for health reasons, you will have to prove that you are no longer able to earn what you were earning when you got divorced or began the divorce process.
In other words, and in most cases, if you are counting on a family court to adjust spousal and child support give your change in job status, don’t.
You can try to work it out with your ex.
It sounds impossible, but it’s not. There is another option. You can talk with your ex and try to come up with an agreement.
Perhaps your motivation in taking a job with lower pay is that you want to be around more for your children. Maybe you feel it will make you a better, more engaged parent. At the same time, maybe your ex has wanted more from their career and would like to go after jobs that would require more time at the office. Talk with your ex. Maybe you can come to terms that work for your family.
Or, say you want to get your MBA or another advanced degree. Maybe your earnings will dip for a couple years and then surpass what you had been making. Again, talk with your ex. Maybe you can agree to reduced payments while you are in school and then higher payments once your earnings increase.
Whatever you work out with your ex, you want to make sure the agreement is formalized. And for that you both will want to engage your family law attorneys.
As always, if you and your ex can resolve things using creativity and understanding, and not a judge, you will pay less in legal fees and have more control of the outcome. You and your ex might no longer be married partners, but you still know what’s best for your family.