As part of your divorce agreement, you or your spouse may be awarded spousal support for a specified period. Spousal support is not meant to provide indefinite financial support. Instead, the goal is to provide the one spouse with temporary financial support until they can become self-supporting.
In most situations, spousal support is terminated after a set time. In other situations, there may not be a termination date. However, in the latter case, the supported spouse may still be expected to make a good faith effort in finding a way to become self-supporting. Since the financial circumstances, including earning power, of the spouse receiving spousal support is a major factor when the support is ordered, whether a spouse works can impact the amount awarded. If a spouse is not making a good faith effort to look for employment and become self-supporting, the spouse paying the support may request the judge to issue a Seek Work Order.
What Is a Seek Work Order?
A seek work order does exactly what it sounds like it does: it orders the spouse getting spouse support to look for work. If the court order is, it will require the spouse to make a good faith effort to seek work and provide proof of their efforts to the judge.
This could mean that the spouse may be ordered to submit a job search log that includes cover letters and resumes along with job ads. He or she may also need to attend periodic hearings to review their progress. The court can order the spouse to apply for a set number of jobs during a given period and immediately notify the court and the other spouse once employment is obtained.
A Seek Work Order is not a guarantee that the supported spouse will find work. However, it may give the paying spouse the power to terminate the spousal support if the supported spouse has earnings and could feasibly find work but is simply not willing to.
Seek Work Order Issued in Child Support Cases
A Seek Work Order can also be issued in child support cases where one parent believes the other parent is not working in order to avoid paying child support. If the court issues the order and the party ordered to seek work fails to comply with the terms of the order, he or she may be found in contempt of court for failing to obey the order. He or she could also face criminal charges as a result of not obeying the order.
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