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What to consider if you get a new job after divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Divorce |

The agreements reached in divorce regarding spousal and child support as well as child custody are typically a snapshot of where families are at the time that a couple decides to part ways. While divorcing couples should try to look ahead to prevent the need for constant modifications, life is nothing if not unpredictable.

A potentially valid reason to modify one or more agreements is a change in employment by either party. Even if this adjustment doesn’t involve having to leave the area, it warrants a look at your current agreements.

Support changes

A higher-paying job can affect the amount someone has to pay in spousal and/or child support. If the person receiving support begins earning more, the paying spouse may conversely be in a position to lower or end their payments.

If your new job pays less than your previous one, you’ll likely have to explain why you took a lower-paying position if you then seek to modify your support agreement(s). If you need more time to provide child care or possibly elder care or because it was either that or unemployment, that would be considered more favorably than if you had no reason beyond your own interests.

If you also seek to modify your child custody order due to your new job, that can affect how much child support you pay or receive. Assuming your new job doesn’t involve a relocation (which is a more complicated circumstance), you may have more or possibly less time to care for your child.

Custody changes

A long-term change to a parent’s job schedule is a potentially valid reason to seek a modification of parenting time and responsibilities. If the new job allows you to work at home, for example, you may be able to obtain a greater share of parenting time. However, if you’re already dividing parenting time roughly 50-50, a judge may not see any reason to disrupt your child’s schedule. Even if don’t have more (or less) time available, a change in your hours or time you have to spend commuting or traveling could affect your co-parenting schedule.

If your former spouse is agreeable to the changes you’re seeking, that will definitely make it easier to get modifications. If they aren’t, you’ll need to be prepared to present your case. Even if they are agreeable, it’s crucial to codify the changes. If you don’t, you won’t be abiding by court orders, which can get you in legal jeopardy down the road. Therefore, seeking experienced legal guidance as you pursue these changes is critical.


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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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