In the middle of a divorce and my soon-to-be-ex just got canned. Now what happens?
May 24, 2011 8:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting divorced and my soon-to-be-ex just got fired. Now what?

YANML, and I will be going to see mine soon to get some advice on this new development, but on top of an already acrimonious and contentious situation which is causing me much stress and anxiety, now my almost ex-wife got fired. She's living in the marital home and has primary custody of our young son, and I moved out into an apartment. I'm paying child support of about $2,000 a month, and will be giving up a big chunk of my retirement to the ex, and other assets to be divided. But now that she's been let go, and it's not clear whether or not she will qualify for unemployment, what happens? I live in a state where alimony laws are very lenient...but I can't really afford to pay out any more than I currently do. Would some of my child support money be counted towards alimony if she chooses to fight for that? Will the fact that she was fired for poor performance have any bearing on the ruling? Any advice please! I've got major agida and am worried about the well-being of my child if she can't afford the upkeep of the house. Help!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total)
Talk to the lawyer who is handling your divorce.
posted by ghharr at 8:44 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

You need to check out the divorce laws in your state. Alimony, child support and even division of assets differs from state to state.
posted by PJMoore at 8:47 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Laws vary state to state. I was a family law paralegal for a few years in Arizona. I worked on a case where we represented the wife. The husband was an attorney - and quite successful at that. However, he had a problem with drugs and would frequently go missing for days on binges. He was finally disbarred and lost his job. Even though he lost his job he was still responsible for paying child support and alimony that was based on his previous income. The court took into consideration his ability to work and to work at a pretty high-income level and their numbers for child support and alimony reflected that.

Like I said, laws vary and I don't know if that would apply to your wife. But since her loss of job was pretty much her fault, I'd think she'd still be responsible for her portion since she has the ability to provide and carry her share of the burden. It would be a different story, however, if she were injured or sick and lost her job and her ability to work. But it sounds like she is still able to work and therefore would still be responsible to carry her portion of the load.

IANAL. Please discuss this with your lawyer. This was just a scenario I ran across many years ago.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:26 AM on May 24, 2011

The question that immediately came to my mind is: Is there some reason she's not looking for another job? IANAL, but from what I've seen, alimony is usually only awarded when the partner has not been working during the course of the marriage. Your wife has been working, so I would assume she would therefore be expected to find another job.

Also, $2000 a month is quite a bit more than the maximum unemployment awarded here in Texas, and possibly also where you're located. That might be taken into account as well.

But since her loss of job was pretty much her fault

For the record, we don't actually know this. Her poor performance could have been caused by stress related to the divorce. Or office politics, etc. But I agree with everything Sassyfras said after that phrase. She's able to work, and she has a work history. So I would think the court would expect her to continue working.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:18 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any advice please! I've got major agida and am worried about the well-being of my child if she can't afford the upkeep of the house. Help!

I would stop worrying and talk to your lawyer. I suppose you could try to get custody, but it would be rather cruel seeing as she just lost her job, too.

It would probably be best if you also saw a therapist through the divorce proceedings. I know it's typical for both sides to be extremely angry, bad-mouth each other, think the worst of each other, but I think it would be in the best interest of your child if you took care of yourself, figured out how to deal with your stress and anxiety, and learned to manage yourself emotionally so you don't make things worse for him because you're angry with his mom. And saying terrible things and trying to convince everyone how she's horrible and irresponsible isn't very good for your mental health and will just cause more stress and anxiety.
posted by anniecat at 10:37 AM on May 25, 2011

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