For women who are already wealthy, divorce only helped their financial portfolio. According to a survey by Spectem Group, 62 percent of women who reported a net worth of $1 million or more stated that they felt they were better off financially after they were divorced. That feedback is supported by a Pew Research Center report that found 20 percent of women reporting large income gains, in excess of 25 percent, after they divorced their spouse.
However, for both wealthy and non-wealthy women alike, divorce can be financially ruinous; the separation of assets and alimony or child support can decimate a bank account. While there are no set steps someone can take to lessen the financial impact on their own bank accounts and secure a more solid financial future, there are several approaches they should take, according to Fairfax divorce lawyer Lisa McDevitt.
“Divorce can be so emotionally upsetting and financially chaotic, even when it is the desired outcome,” advises McDevitt of McDevitt Law Firm. “It is always prudent to take stock and assess resources before making any large decisions.”
McDevitt offers some tips on how to manage the first few weeks and months after initiating a divorce. If looking for work, add more work such as contracting or part-time, or changing jobs, suggests McDevitt, reach out to friends, family members, community and coworkers for both moral and financial support. Many churches, temples and communities offer support groups for divorce and for financial guidance. Tap into those resources.
McDevitt advises for individuals to sit down and assess finances. Take the time to map out a strict budget, and work with a financial advisor to ensure what assets that are available will stay protected.
McDevitt also suggests not making any impulse-buy large purchases. Purchasing large-ticket items can be an emotional response and, like many emotional responses, only helps in the short-term. If you need to go out for a lavish dinner or take a weekend trip, and your budget shows you have that available, go for it. But if you do not have the money, you need to stay smart.
“Work with your lawyer to deal with separation issues as they come up, rather than making rash decisions based on emotion,” says McDevitt. “Buying that flat screen TV now that your spouse is not there to say ‘no’ is satisfying for a few days, but then you have to pay the bill.”