Help! I Lost My Job in The Middle Of My Divorce

July 26, 2023 | By Amanda C. Frett

Divorce is already synonymous with significant changes in one’s life. Adding the loss of your job to that list can compound the pressure and intensify an already stressful situation. To mitigate some of your concerns, consider the following ways your employment status may impact the divorce process:

  • Alimony/Spousal Support:

Support awards consider the incomes of both parties; therefore, they may be substantially affected by job loss. While there are various types of support a party can receive, each with a unique purpose and distinct timing, the court’s overarching goal is to ensure that the financially dependent spouse (and children) are financially secure. When one party suddenly has no income, the circumstances surrounding job loss become relevant. For example, was it the result of a planned company layoff, was someone fired for cause, or did the party just voluntarily quit to try and receive higher support. These situations will be treated differently, with the last one likely not looked favorably upon.

Additionally, the court will contemplate what efforts you have made to seek employment since the termination. Keep records of your job search – save resumes, communications with potential employers, calendar interviews – and be prepared to share these documents with the court. If a support award is already in place, then you will want to contact an attorney to determine whether a modification is appropriate.

  • Division of the Marital Estate:

In Pennsylvania, the divorcing parties’ marital estate will be equitably divided. Equitable is not equal. There is no presumption that the estate should be divided 50/50. Instead, the court utilizes a set of enumerated factors in the PA Divorce Code to determine property distribution. Specifically, and relevant to job loss, are the factors that contemplate the sources of income of each party, the opportunity of each spouse for future acquisitions of assets and income, and the economic circumstances of the parties at the time of distribution.

  • Child Custody:

Job loss could also affect physical custody arrangements for the parties’ children. For example, if a parent who worked a full, rigorous work schedule every day, and needed childcare to accommodate, suddenly is no longer employed, then he or she may wish to change the physical custody schedule to allow for their newfound availability or to allow for a different work schedule in the future. This may only be a temporary situation, so parties should be flexible during this time and cooperate to implement schedules that are in the children’s best interests. You will also want to consider the time required to find a new job – this may include interviews or sending out resumes on the weekends.

Your new financial circumstances may change how you wish to proceed with your divorce. The attorneys at Obermayer are experienced in handling these issues, set up a consultation today to discuss the future of your family.

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.

About the Authors

Amanda C. Frett


Amanda concentrates her practice in all aspects of family law including divorce, adoption, child and spousal support, custody, separation and domestic abuse in the greater Doylestown, PA area. Amanda advises people during...

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