Divorce can lead to many financial challenges, and this is true for women in particular. Women already make less than men on average, and after a divorce, their incomes are more likely to drop than men’s incomes, which often increase. At 27%, the poverty rate for divorced women is three times higher than it is for men. Women are also still awarded custody the majority of the time, and this can cause additional financial worries.
Women can prepare by making sure they have copies of important documents relating to the family finances, including bank statements, asset titles and tax returns. They might want to start an emergency fund in a separate account although they will be required to reveal the existence of this account at some point. They should also create a budget for after the divorce. If they were covered through a spouse’s health insurance, they will need to figure out how to replace this. They also may need to determine how they will pay for new housing, including such expenses as utilities.
A financial planner may be able to help in putting this new budget together. While women may be concerned about how the divorce affects their children, they should not neglect themselves. Friends can help keep their spirits up, and they may want to talk to a therapist.
The custodial parent may get child support from the other parent. This is separate from spousal support, which may also be awarded if one spouse earned significantly less than the other. Child support usually ends when the child reaches adulthood although there may be exceptions if the child has special needs. Some parents include an agreement about how they will pay for the child’s college. Spousal support is sometimes temporary, lasting just until the person gets a better-paying job.