With the economy improving and unemployment going down, things are changing in the lives of many families in Washington. People are changing jobs, changing careers, relocating for new opportunities, and (happily) earning more money. For families with unmarried or divorced parents of minor children, these changes can mean more than a new job, higher salary, or a move, it can mean that it is time to bring a family law action, or respond to a family law action that has been brought against them.
Here are three family law issues that might come up when a person’s economic circumstances or living situation changes due to the improved economy:
- Child support: Child support is based on the income of both parties. If one party’s (or both parties’) income changes significantly due to a new job or a raise, it may be necessary to adjust the child support obligations of the parties. If the child’s other parent has obtained a new job, or is making more money at a current job, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney about seeking a modification or adjustment of the current order of child support based on these changed circumstances. If you are the parent making more money, you may want to look into what impact your increase in salary could have on your family law case.
- Relocation: With an improvement in potential employment opportunities, comes decisions to be made by the potential employee about which job to take. One of the most difficult decisions comes when a potential employee is asked to relocate for a new job. These decisions can be even harder when a potential employee is a parent who is not married to his or her child’s other parent. One of the considerations when making these types of decisions needs to be considering how relocation would affect an unmarried parent’s family law case. If you are a primary parent thinking of relocating or the non-primary parent considering moving without your children, you may want to speak with a family law attorney about how a relocation could affect the parenting of your children.
- Spousal maintenance: Spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) is money paid by one former-spouse to the other former-spouse. Two of the factors used to determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance is the need for spousal maintenance of the receiving party and the ability to pay spousal maintenance of the paying party. It follows that as the income of the receiving party increases, their need may reduce, and thus the need for spousal maintenance may be less. It also follows that if the paying party is making more, their ability to pay likely increases as well. Depending on the specific circumstances of the parties (for example, whether the receiving party is working/earning at all), the increased earning potential can mean spousal maintenance could be more or less.
If you want to know how a potential relocation or change in income could affect your family law case you may want to speak a family law attorney. If you would like to speak with a Seattle family law attorney we would be honored if you contacted us.