When you get used to a certain lifestyle, divorce can rock your financial boat significantly. It comes with court fees, attorney fees and other associated costs, such as hiring additional professionals in high-asset cases. The more complicated, contentious or drawn-out the divorce, the more expensive it will be.
Furthermore, if you have been a stay-at-home mother for most of your marriage, you may find your new financial situation hard to navigate. However, with some information and planning, you can retain financial security.
No doubt you rely on alimony to maintain your way of living and maybe allow you to continue child-rearing full-time. However, spousal support is not mandatory like child support. It is up to the discretion of the judge whether to grant it, and if so, the payment amount and duration. Factors that go into this decision include:
- The length of your marriage
- How old you each are and your current physical health
- The standard of living you experienced while together
- Your spouse's ability to pay
- If you helped your spouse achieve educational or occupational goals
- If being a stay-at-home mom affected your career
- Whether you working would hurt your ability to care for the children
For marriages lengths fewer than 10 years, the duration is usually half the length of the marriage. For marriages 10 years and above, spousal support has no end date. However, some people want to change that. It is also important to note that you can request temporary spousal support during the divorce process.
You may want to hire a certified divorce financial analyst to review your finances with the intent to help you make smart choices in property division and adjustment to your post-divorce life. The CDFA can offer tax guidance, create a budget and help you set goals.
If you must go back to work or school first, you can benefit from the aid of a vocational professional. This person can examine your employability, help you find an appropriate job or guide you in what you need to do to qualify for the position you want.