If My Ex-Spouse Becomes Unemployed, Will I Lose Alimony?

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When you depend on alimony payments from your spouse to help supplement your income, especially if you sacrificed your career to support them, sudden unemployment can leave you feeling helpless. Many dependent spouses are unaware of what happens in the event their ex-spouse becomes unemployed while making alimony payments. This can create feelings of uncertainty. Luckily, the following blog explores what you must know about these circumstances and why you should enlist the assistance of Los Angeles spousal support attorneys.

Will Alimony End if the Paying Spouse Is Unemployed?

In California, spousal support is not a permanent source of income for a dependent spouse. Instead, it acts to supplement their earnings until they can become financially independent. As such, these payments typically only last for a pre-determined amount of time, as decided by the courts. The length of your marriage, how dependent you were on your spouse, child custody, and whether or not you worked before your marriage will all be considered by the courts when awarding alimony.

It’s essential to understand that when a paying spouse loses their job, alimony payments do not automatically stop. Additionally, the spouse cannot simply stop making payments, as this will violate the court order. As such, they must petition the court to receive a modification to their order that reduces or terminates their spousal support obligations.

What Factors Will the Courts Take Into Consideration?

Just as the courts take a number of elements into consideration when awarding alimony after a divorce, they will review many different factors before making changes to a court order. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The reason your ex-spouse lost their job: If your ex becomes unemployed because they did something illegal, like altering books, or because of their inability to adhere to workplace rules, it’s likely they will not be granted a termination or even a reduction in payments. Similarly, if they quit their job because they no longer wish to work or they are trying to get out of making payments this will not warrant a modification.
  • If your ex-spouse has other income: Though their employment was their primary source of income, if your ex-spouse has investments, rental properties, sponsors, or other passive forms of earnings, they likely will not be granted a modification, as they can continue making payments as necessary without placing strain on their finances.
  • Whether or not they’ve looked for employment: Generally, a spouse who loses their job cannot petition for a change to their alimony order before ninety days have elapsed since they lost their job. As such, the courts will examine what your ex-spouse did in the time period. If they did not search for another form of employment despite a welcoming job market, they likely would not be granted a modification.

As you can see, there are many factors that influence whether or not an unemployed spouse will avoid paying alimony. Regardless, it’s imperative to enlist the assistance of the Zitser Family Law Group. We understand how anxiety-inducting this time can be. Our team is ready to fight for your rights. Contact us today.

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