Divorce lawyers see it all the time. One (or both) of the parties to a divorce has had a steadily increasing income in the years prior to the divorce. Access to money isn’t an issue. All is good, or so it seems, at least from a financial perspective. Then, just as the divorce is starting, the income suddenly drops. Now you are losing money, or you don’t make any money at all. The bonuses stopped. The overtime hours evaporated. Maybe you lost your job, or now have a lower paying job. The commissions dried up. You once looked like a cash cow but now you are hemorrhaging money.
Divorce lawyers have a name for this condition. We call it SIDS. Sudden Income Deficiency Syndrome. As the argument goes, with the knowledge that they could soon be on the hook for a child support or spousal maintenance obligation, the “monied spouse” intentionally starts sandbagging so that their financial obligations to their soon-to-be ex-spouse aren’t as significant. As I tell clients, in real life, making money is a good thing. The more money, the better, right? Who doesn’t want to make money? But the reality is that in a divorce, the more money you make, the more likely it is that you will owe your spouse spousal maintenance, if that is an issue in the case. People have a natural tendency to downplay their income, then, during a divorce. So, whenever someone’s income decreases at the same time that a divorce starts, there is a built-in suspicion that it is all part of a master plan. The same holds true for the non-monied spouse, but in reverse.
But, this totally ignores the undeniable truth that divorce is, you know, stressful. Maybe it is the underlying marital problems, and the stress of a marriage that is falling apart, that are impacting work performance. Maybe that’s why the monied spouse is no longer a rock star at work. Maybe they are depressed and simply not able to focus on their job like they could in the past. Maybe that’s why their income went down. Maybe the sudden decrease in their income is not a calculated attempt to disadvantage their spouse in the divorce at all? Maybe the monied spouse doesn’t want their income to drop any more than their spouse does. Could it be?
A professor at the U is doing a study on how divorce impacts your job. It is not known whether it will explore the issue of whether underperforming at work during a divorce is the result of marital stress, financial incentive to underperform, or a combination of both. Stay tuned.
Contact Beyer & Simonson
If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.