How Will Unemployment Affect Child Custody?


I’m facing a possible separation/divorce.

I’ve been my son’s primary caregiver since leaving my job due to an illness caused by my job. My wife works fulltime.

Should I stay unemployed and remain the primary caregiver in a situation like this or continue to seek new employment?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I do practice in Virginia, the court wants to see that an unemployed spouse is trying to find work. Disability/injuries may play a role in what the court expects from an unemployed party, but it is a sign of good faith to keep looking.

That being said, just because you are looking does not mean that you are going to find a job. So, it is likely that you will stay unemployed for the time being and continue to be the primary caregiver of the child.

Further, in Virginia, when one party becomes unable to work during the marriage, that party generally has a good chance of getting spousal support. Especially where you have been taking care of the child, there would be a good argument that the wife should pay him spousal support long enough for him to get back on his feet.

Again, the court is going to want to see that you are applying for jobs.

Child custody issues in divorce are very fact-specific and requires a specialized knowledge of local law. For these reasons I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters in your jurisdiction.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on marital property, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your and how they impact your case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss property rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on,, and, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

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