In an ideal situation, a couple would choose to get a divorce when both spouses are financially stable and able to maintain their accustomed lifestyle independently. However, this is not always possible, and it may be especially difficult at a time when so many people are struggling to find or maintain steady employment. Whether you are voluntarily unemployed in order to be a stay-at-home parent or you have recently lost your job due to COVID-19, there are a few things to consider regarding how your unemployment can affect the divorce process.

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Unemployment

If you have been fired, laid off, or furloughed due to COVID-19 or for most other reasons, and you are actively seeking employment, your unemployment will likely be considered involuntary. This means that your financial obligations related to the divorce will usually take your actual current income into consideration. However, if you are voluntarily unemployed, the court may instead consider your earning capacity when determining your ability to make financial contributions. Note that there may be an exception if you are voluntarily unemployed so that you can contribute to the marriage in some other way, such as being a stay-at-home parent to care for your children while your spouse works.

Unemployment and Child Support in Illinois

In Illinois, each parent’s child support obligation is calculated based on an equitable proportion of the parents’ combined incomes. If both parents are regularly employed, this calculation can be relatively straightforward, but if one of you is unemployed, it can become more complicated. If the paying spouse is involuntarily unemployed, his or her child support obligation will often be lower than it would be in the case of regular employment. If the receiving spouse is unemployed, he or she may expect to see the other parent pay for a majority of the child support obligation.

Illinois Spousal Support and Unemployment

Similarly to child support, your spousal support payment obligation will likely be lower if you are unemployed involuntarily, and you may not even owe spousal support at all. On the other hand, an unemployed spouse is often likely to be awarded spousal support, especially if he or she is physically unable to work, has contributed to the marriage as a stay-at-home parent, or would earn significantly less than the other spouse even if he or she were employed.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

When your unemployment is adding stress to an already challenging divorce, the attorneys at Davi Law Group can help. We will work to ensure a fair divorce resolution that fully considers your current financial situation, and we can also help you pursue a modification after your divorce agreement is finished if your employment status changes. Contact an experienced Naperville divorce lawyer today at 630-824-3474 to request a free consultation.


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