Though not as markedly so as 40 years ago, women still tend to be the principal caregivers for children before and after divorce. For women who chose to forego work or other employment advantages to spend more time caring for their children, divorce poses a shock when the court expects that both spouses pursue employment and meet their reasonable financial needs. We happened across this excellent article in Forbes and thought we would share some of its advice.
First, women should never allow themselves to become willfully ignorant of the family finances. Do we have retirement accounts? What type? Do we own stocks? Where are they? How much is our mortgage? All of these questions help shape your financial present and future, and what your spouse may have chosen to do with funds could be against your interests in the event of divorce. Also, not paying close attention to the family financials can make it too easy or too tempting for the other spouse to try and conceal or secret assets.
Second, women should not consider the phrase “financial independence” as incompatible with child rearing. Women after divorce can still serve as primary caregiver and earn sufficient income to cover now and plan for the future. Budgeting should be a first step – know how much your key monthly expenses run and determine what scaling back may be necessary in the short run until you get more financially secure.
Third, consider a multitude of ways to get back into the job market. Do you have sufficient education or training for what pursuits interest you? If not, you should explore returning to school as an investment in your future. Also, you could start your own business and even work from home. Seek out internships in a field of interest to discover whether you would enjoy it and what it would take for you to make a good income. Do not shy away from networking – get out and mingle in a variety of professional and social settings to let people know you are available and looking for particular opportunities. And finally, find a mentor – someone who has been through your similar experience and who could help you with your career and life path post-divorce.
Following these steps and those set out in the Forbes article will help you go a long way toward planning for your financial future after divorce.
If you have additional questions about women, work and divorce, contact us – we can help.