You are recently separated and divorce is inevitable. You don’t have a job and you need money to support yourself. Should you take the job or are you jeopardizing the possibility of recieving spousal maintenance?

This is a really difficult question. In order to answer it, you must first determine your objectives and whether the offer of employment achieves the objectives. For some individuals, they may not need to find a job immediately, either because they have substantial assets, their spouse is offering support or friends and family are helping out. For women or men who have been out of the workforce and are now facing divorce, you will probably need to find some way to become self sufficient. That doesn’t mean that you should take any job you can get.

I had a client who had been hom taking care of her young children throughout the marriage. Her husband filed for divorce and was not offering any support. We were fairly confident that she would be awarded spousal maintence, but due to the availability of funds, she would eventually need to find supplementary sources of income. She was offered a position as a teacher in a pre-school facility. She could take her youngest child with her. It seems like a great option.

Then we looked at the numbers and logistics. The job paid $10/hour for a full time position. Her baby could not be in the same room she taught in. A 50% reduction in tuition meant that she would only have to pay $700 per month for full time care for the baby. The school was at least forty minutes from her house. The Father had scheduled parenting time every evening. She was ready to take the job.

Let’s look at this closely. $10/hour * 40 hours per week = $1733 per month. Take out the $700 for child care and her net income before taxes would be $1033. Then if you take out 25% for taxes, the take home is $775/month. $775/160 hours per month means my client was looking at working for $4.80 per hour to take care of other people’s children and be separated from her own. Additionally, she would be getting up each day by six, spending hours in the car, and lose all day with her son. His Father would have him each evening so she would end up putting him to bed at night.

While turning down employment is difficult, in this client’s situation this job was not a good fit. It simply didn’t achieve her objectives. She wanted to secure an award of temporary spousal maintenance and find a way to make money while taking care of her son. This offer of employment didn’t help either cause. Instead, this client was better off searching for a teaching position with an elementary school in a position that paid more, and offered better hours. She would also have been served in a nanny position or by offering in home day care. That way she could both supplement her income and also spend time with her child.

These are not easy decisions and I recomend you consult with your attorney prior to making a decision about whether to accept a new position in a pending divorce. To schedule a consultation, give the office a call at 480-649-2905.