Getting divorced can undoubtedly be an emotionally devastating experience. It can also take a serious financial toll on spouses, which may come as an unwelcome surprise. Many California families are supported by a single income; but when couples get divorced, that income may no longer be able to support both households.
In single-income households, it is very common that one spouse has opted to leave the workforce to stay at home and take care of the children. If a couple divorces, these spouses find it enormously challenging to support themselves and their children. Understanding the potential costs of a post-divorce lifestyle can help people prepare for the future.
After a divorce, people generally need to secure new housing, find child care, reestablish their credit and maybe even purchase a car. This is all in addition to daily expenses such as food, healthcare and every day bills and expenses. It can be very overwhelming for people who have been dependent on someone else to cover these costs.
It can be easy to think that all a person needs to do after a divorce is get a job. But this is generally easier said than done. A stay-at-home parent often gives up their career and sacrificed their earning potential in these arrangements. Getting a job, especially a job that pays well, is very difficult for people who have not updated their resume in several years. Going back to school is certainly a good option for many people, but that also requires additional financial resources that don't exist.
However, there are ways to protect yourself and your financial well-being after a California divorce. In many situations, it is possible to pursue spousal support and child support to help make this transition.
By anticipating these expenses and working with an attorney, people can negotiate a divorce settlement that allows stay-at-home parents to collect their share of marital assets and have the financial resources to recover from a divorce. Many couples are now choosing divorce mediation or collaborative divorce processes to assist them in this transition. Without legal support, people could walk away from a marriage without the financial support and resources they deserve.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "After divorce, a mother needs a financial overhaul and more income," Ronald D. White, March 16, 2014