In June 2020 the unemployment rate in Colorado increased to 10.5%. Uncertainty around COVID-19 has contributed to this spike in layoffs and furloughs. The longer this virus remains, the more Coloradans will be faced with the question: How will job loss affect my divorce mediation?
If you were laid off due to no fault of your own i.e. widespread layoffs, it may make sense for mediators to adjust child or spousal support accordingly, but on a temporary basis. However, if the job loss was you, or your soon to be ex spouse’s fault, mediators may require the at fault spouse held to the support amount that was agreed upon while they were employed.
If the spouse who lost their job due to COVID, and is the lower-paid spouse, it may be suggested that the employed spouse pay more support until their ex spouse is re-employed. The intention is to try and ascertain that both spouses are able to meet BOTH of their needs during the period of unemployment.
Once the spouse who earned more is hired again, they will be responsible to pay an agreed upon percentage of their earned income. In Colorado, the calculation is the result of a statute effective January 1, 2014. There can be a provision in your mediated agreement that when the rehire happens, the partie’s agreement is that they will revisit the support piece of the divorce with a qualified mediator.
Our advice for spouses who are laid off is to treat finding a job as a full-time job. Job searches should focus on a similar job with a comparable salary to the one you lost, if possible. This is not the time to “find yourself” or go back to school, unless retraining is required to be able to enter or re-enter the jobforce.
Finally, it is important to note that job loss also is not a spouse’s Ace in the Hole when it comes to calculating support payments. The laid off spouse needs to be transparent about any severance or payout package they may have received or company stock options they hold.
At Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado, we understand how stressful job loss is and how it can impact your ability to support yourself, your ex spouse, and your children. All parties in a mediation agree to transparency and this creates a level of communication rarely seen during divorce.
If your employment situation changes during your divorce mediation, we will adjust divorce mediation agreements to reflect this change and address what happens when either spouse is employed again. Give us a call at 303-468-5626 to discuss your particular situation with a 20 minute complimentary consultation.