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Change isn't Always Negative, we can help you move on there is a positive future ahead
By: Sampair Group

Divorce When Your Spouse is Unemployed

Arizona Divorce Law

This article was last updated: Sept. 29th, 2023

The termination of a marriage can be a stressful experience and a lengthy process to endure. However, financial obstacles can also occur if one spouse lacks a stable income. If you’re the only working spouse, you could face a few implications, which can void your entitlement to alimony and child support payments. In Arizona, income on both sides can undergo an evaluation due to strict spousal maintenance guidelines. Therefore, you should know how your situation could work in or against your favor.

The Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Unemployment

While some individuals spite their ex-spouses by purposely refusing to find work, others seek employment but constantly experience rejection. Voluntary and involuntary unemployment is often misinterpreted and also viewed as interchangeable. On the other hand, both have contrasting factors determining whether an unemployed spouse should pay even without a steady job.

Voluntary Unemployment

When a spouse is physically capable of working but refuses to do so to stifle the divorce proceedings intentionally, a judge could rule against them if their intention is recognized. They could also be held accountable despite their unemployment status.

Involuntary Unemployment

When job opportunities are limited, or a spouse has yet to obtain work despite their qualifications, the situation could result in a temporary or permanent child or spousal support reduction. Even if a custodial parent’s income exceeds their spouse’s earnings, a judge may demand that the noncustodial parent fulfill overdue payments only after acquiring employment.

Three Common Implications of Divorcing an Unemployed Spouse

Some judges express empathy toward an unemployed, noncustodial parent and often use discretion under specific state laws. In this situation, a judge may credit earnings to the unemployed parent by calculating potential income along with their support payment of debts. Therefore, it would be best if you considered a few crucial circumstances.

Child Support Reduction or Suspension

In some cases, if a spouse lacks a stable income, a judge can reduce or suspend their payment of debts temporarily. If they receive unemployment benefits, they could be exempt from relinquishing their funds. Although you can attempt to have the decision reversed by filing a petition, you could face dismissal due to your spouse’s financial hardship. An Arizona family law attorney in the Sampair Group may inform you about a support order and your rights in the situation.

Monthly Spousal Support

If your husband or wife is unemployed, most likely, the court will order you to pay alimony after a divorce proceeding. However, unemployment is only one factor that can influence such a decision. A shared living situation is also relevant, especially regarding the sum a judge can order you to pay.

Equal Property Distribution

A judge can order a 50/50 split between spouses in a divorce proceeding. For example, if your partner refuses to work as you earn most of the income, they are still entitled to half of the marital property and valuable possessions. In contrast, if a disability exists, a judge could grant the partner a significant share of the property while you could be left a small remainder.

What to Know Before Hiring an Attorney

While you may have considered self-representation, you most likely lack the expertise to defend yourself in a court of law. Although you can acquire divorce forms without a legal representative’s assistance, you must meet requirements that can be challenging to fulfill. An Arizona family law attorney in the Sampair Group can help defend you against your unemployed spouse.