Working for a Living: Will I Have to Get a Job After Divorce?

Posted on Mar 13, 2013 by Katie Carter

Whatever your reality used to be, it’s changing. When you and your husband separate and plan to divorce, your financial picture changes—dramatically and permanently. We can beat around the bush all day long, but your new reality is that, financially at least, things will probably be a little bit more difficult.

Depending on a number of factors, including the length of your marriage, an analysis of the statutory criteria, and whether you have a need and he has an ability to pay, you may be entitled for an award of spousal support.

If, however, your award of spousal support is (1) smaller than you expected, or (2) for a shorter period of time than you anticipated, and you are afraid that you won’t be able to pay your bills, you’re going to have to establish a separate form of income. Usually, that means that you’ll have to get some sort of job.

I don’t say this to be mean or insensitive. I know that, in many cases, women have been unemployed in order to better care for the needs of the family. At the time, that was probably the best decision you could have made. Now that you’re facing divorce, however, your reality seems a bit different. You’re older, you have no current work experience, and you may not even have had the opportunity to get the educational training when you were younger that you now wish you had.

Sometimes it’s a really unpleasant conversation. I’ve had to tell women at 40, 50, and even 60 that they may want to consider getting a job or going back to school. It isn’t generally very well received advice, but divorce changes things. And if you don’t have enough money after support (or you don’t qualify to receive support), you’ll have to make ends meet somehow. It may seem distasteful, embarrassing, or frustrating, but going back to work is really one of the few ways I can think of to bring extra money in on demand. No matter what our age or educational background may be, sometimes we’ve all got to make it work.

Unless you know something I don’t, there aren’t a whole lot of alternatives if what you have coming in is less than your expenses. For many women, working, especially after all that time out of the workforce, is less than appealing, especially as you get nearer and nearer to retirement age. Maybe this isn’t what you planned, but sometimes we’ve all got to make choices that allow us to make our lives work.