If you’re a woman, who is divorced, in the process of divorcing, or is contemplating a divorce in the near future, understanding a few key things about the financial implications of a marital dissolution will go a long way toward helping you regain the confidence you need to take control of your wealth.
After a divorce, some women, especially those whose spouses were in charge of the household finances; find themselves in the confusing and uncomfortable position of having to learn personal finance from scratch. They now have no choice except to take responsibility for earning, saving, paying bills, and investing for retirement.
It’s unfortunate that many divorced women find themselves faced with some unpleasant and unanticipated realities in their post-marriage lives. For example, women often greatly underestimate the costs involved in the divorce process itself. The website Divorcestatistics.info puts the average cost of a divorce in America at around $15,000.
Beyond the legal costs, things such as lack of financial literacy, standard office expenses, the need to hire valuation and other financial experts, and even the emotional states of the divorcing couple can contribute to the high price tag a divorce usually carries.
Divorcing women face other nasty surprises
- Health insurance costs are often more than they envisioned. Usually, divorced women will have to pay their health insurance premiums, which can be staggering. Nationally, health insurance premiums have been increasing by an average of 5% every year, for the last six years. In some states, coverage for a single woman can run over $1,000 per month!
- They need to find a job as soon as they can. Economic necessity can mean that some divorced women will see they need to start working quickly. Those who were stay-at-home wives and mothers may not have had time to acquire new skill sets or update their existing skills, making it difficult to get hired or get better wages.
- They could find themselves homeless. In a typical divorce, the family home can be the most valuable financial asset as well as a big bone of contention. If divorcing women do want to stay in the home because they have young children or due to an emotional attachment, they may have to fight to keep it. Fighting with an ex-spouse over the home is an expensive and time-consuming process that could quickly deplete any savings and create even more stress.
- Alimony and/or child support is not what they thought it would be. For whatever reason, some divorced women overestimate how much money they feel their ex-spouse should pay in spousal or child support. The amounts arrived at during the divorce process may be much, much less than anticipated.
These and other unwelcome surprises in the aftermath of a divorce don’t have to spell disaster, though. With a little pro-active “divorce planning,” you can lessen the sting of the process and begin to regain control over your financial future.
Brad Pistole is a member of Syndicated Columnists, a national organization committed to a fully transparent approach to money management.
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