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How does voluntary unemployment impact spousal support?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2019 | Alimony |

When there is a divorce in Colorado, spousal support will inevitably be an important part of the case. The paying spouse will be obligated to pay a certain amount to the receiving spouse. This is contingent on many factors including how much the receiving spouse needs to maintain the same lifestyle as he or she had during the marriage and how much the paying spouse can afford to pay while maintaining his or her own needs.

For some spouses who are supposed to be receiving spousal support and some who are paying it, it is a concern if the other person is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed. Knowing how this type of circumstance is handled is important. When there is a determination that a person is voluntarily underemployed at a job that does not fit in with their skills, abilities and potential compensation, or a person is unemployed because he or she is not actively seeking work, it will impact how the spousal support is calculated.

The calculation will be based on how much potential income the person can earn. This will not be done if the person is physically or mentally incapacitated or cares for a child who is younger than 30 months if there is joint responsibility for the spouses in the case or if a parent is incapacitated for one or more years.

A person will not be categorized as underemployed if the employment the person has is temporary and its intention is to receive higher income in the future; if the employment is based on the person’s career choice and it is done in good faith; or if the person is taking part in an educational program that will lead to a degree or credential that will earn a higher income and it is done in good faith based on the career choice.

During a dispute over spousal support, employment and the possibility of intentional underemployment or unemployment are important considerations. If this is a concern, having legal help is key. A law firm that specializes in assisting people with their family law issues including spousal support should be consulted with to handle a case.