As part of a divorce settlement, the court may award you or your spouse spousal support. Spousal support is intended to provide temporary financial support for a spouse until the supported spouse can become self-supporting.
In most cases, spousal support is temporary and may have a set time when it will be terminated. In other cases, the court may not set a termination date but it may still be expected of the supported spouse to make a good faith effort to find a job and become self-supporting. So, the real question becomes whether the court can order a supported spouse to go to work.
Issuing a Seek Work Order
Spousal support is meant to help a spouse with his or her financial situation until they become self-sufficient. Rarely is spousal support intended to last forever. In making its decision to award spousal support, the court takes the financial circumstances of the supported spouse into consideration. One major factor the court looks at is earning power – whether or not a spouse works can impact the spousal support amount.
However, just because a spouse is not working at the time the court makes its spousal support decision doesn’t mean they don’t have to look for work. If a spouse is not making a good faith effort to find work and become self-supporting, and the payor of the spouse support wishes to do so, he or she may request the judge to issue a Seek Work Order.
What is a Seek Work Order?
A Seek Work Order does just what it sounds like it does. If granted, it orders the spouse receiving spousal support to find work. It requires the supported spouse to make a good faith effort to find a job and provide proof of the efforts to the court.
This could mean that the court will require the spouse to submit a job search log that includes cover letters and resumes along with job ads to the court. They may also be required to attend periodic hearings to review their progress. The court has discretion in requiring a set number of jobs the supported spouse must apply for during a specific amount of time and inform the supporting spouse as soon as they found a job. The court may also require the supported spouse to register with an unemployment office.
Impact of Seek Work Orders on Child Support
A Seek Work Order can also be issued in child support cases. If the spouse who is ordered to seek work does not comply with any component of the order, he or she may be found in contempt of court for failing to obey the order. The ordered party could also face criminal charges.
Call a Central Valley Spousal Support Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or planning to file for divorce, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley divorce attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 689-2207 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.