As if divorce isn’t already difficult enough, both emotionally and mentally, there are the financial effects to consider as well. Going from a dual-income family to only having one income can be very challenging. For women who were homemakers before the divorce, this can be even more devastating. Suddenly having to provide financially for yourself and your children when you have been dependent on someone else for so long can be terrifying.
But there are ways to handle this adjustment that won’t damage your credit, or your bank account. They will, however, require some major life-changes. Alimony and in cases where you have minor children, child support, can help to make ends meet after divorce. However, that is only part of the package. In order to move forward, you’re going to have to make peace with changing financial circumstances.
For those of you who are faced with the looming possibility of greatly reduced income, here are a few tips to consider, when planning for your financial future.
Figure out your limits…
Make a list of things you will need to pay for every month. Be sure to include everything. That means more than just bills, like a grocery budget and what you will need for gas and basic car maintenance.
This will require that you be very specific about the difference between wants and needs, cutting out anything that is not truly needed. By doing this you can create a very clear picture of how much money you and your household will need to survive on a month-to-month basis for the immediate future. You may be surprised by how much money you spend monthly on those little non-necessity items here and there.
Get rid of the extras…
Spend some time writing down all of your fixed expenses and see what you may be able to eliminate. Anything you can do to reduce your monthly payments and bills will be a great help, even if it’s out of your comfort zone and doesn’t make you happy.
For example, shutting off the satellite for a few months until finances stabilize may cause your kids some frustrations, but it may also save you as much as a hundred dollars a month, which could be better utilized in other areas.
Don’t go it alone…
While applying for financial aid may be a poke at your pride, if it’s the difference between financial security and not being able to pay your bills, it may be your best option right now. Food stamps, section 8 housing, medicaid insurance for your children, anything that can temporarily ease the pinch will go a long way towards reducing stress and getting you back to a place of better financial stability.
Train for a new future…
A stay-at-home mom or wife can often find herself in a very frightening position after a divorce. If you haven’t earned an income in years, and are suddenly faced with the prospect of having to create a resume based on skills you haven’t used in ages, it can be very scary.
You are not alone. There are a wide variety of Displaced Homemaker scholarships and grants available for women needing a new skill set in order to reenter the workforce. In addition, there are numerous websites created solely to support women in their return to work.
Working it out…
Sometimes going back to school isn’t an option, and for some, not even necessary. However, if you don’t already have a job you will need to start looking for one. If you were a homemaker before the divorce, consider your skill set. Be sure to look at all of the things that you may be good at but that don’t usually feature on a resume.
While most people in this day and age can type and talk on the phone, skills like cooking, cleaning, child care and driving are all viable sources of potential income. If you can’t find a job using these skills, call around to local temp agencies. They often provide training, and can be a great way to make a little money while you search for something more permanent.
Keep your feet on the ground…
Your life is going to be different in almost every way from here on out, and you need to accept that. Making peace with the changes will make them all the more easy to bear. The sooner you embrace this new stage in life, accepting the ups and downs as part of the package, the sooner you will be on your way to a brighter and more stable future.
We hope this article was helpful for you. We understand that divorce, and the aftermath of divorce, can be a rocky road. But having a skilled and experienced attorney on your side, protecting your best interests, can make a huge difference in your post-divorce financial situation. If you are considering divorce but are concerned about the financial ramifications, contact us today. We can walk you through every aspect of this critical decision.