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Think carefully before making a post-divorce job change

Divorce is a difficult time for any Charlotte resident, and that means bad decisions are possible. Because emotions and stress levels tend to run on high during and immediately after a divorce, people may be prone to making important financial and legal mistakes that can come back to haunt them months or even years down the road.

One of these potential mistakes is deciding to take a break from work or change careers to a lower-paying field. Of course, judges never look fondly on someone who does this with the specific plan to avoiding paying spousal support or otherwise getting an advantage in one’s divorce case.

Even for someone who honestly wanted a fresh start doing something more rewarding, quitting work or taking a lower paying job can cause financial and legal problems.

Financially, given that divorce will almost inevitably deal a short-term blow to one’s wealth and income, it might be the best time to add the additional problem of a smaller paycheck.

Legally speaking, even if the job change was done in good faith, it can cause problems with respect to spousal support, which is often referred to as alimony. The reason is that, as this blog has discussed, judges in North Carolina consider a number of factors when awarding alimony.

In other words, a judge is not just going to look at what a person is earning at the time of the court’s decision; she will also consider, among other things, how much a person could be earning.

So, the judge could wind up ordering a person to pay a higher amount of spousal support, as if he had kept his higher paying job, even though he since decided to try something that makes less money.

The upshot is that one should think carefully before quitting one’s job mid-divorce and should discuss such a decision with her attorney.