While divorce can have a negative economic impact on both spouses, it can be particularly difficult for women. While no one wants to consider the possibility of divorce, some women have learned the hard way that it's important to be prepared to care for yourself and your children financially and to re-enter the job market with a salary that will let you do that if the marriage ends.
Stay-at-home moms can have the most difficult struggles after divorce. Rejoining the workforce can be challenging if you've been out of it for a while and perhaps cut short your education to care for your children. One former stay-at-home mom who had a difficult time finding a job in her former line of work after her divorce advises women to stay in the workforce "in some way, shape or form."
Education is a factor when rejoining the workforce. Unemployment rates for college-educated people are lower than for those without a college degree. However, divorce rates are also lower. Therefore, women trying to re-enter the labor market post-divorce are more likely to be doing so without that degree.
Women are more likely to struggle to get back on their feet than men no matter where they fall on the socioeconomic spectrum. However, those in the working and middle classes have a harder time.
Women with primary custody of the children find themselves having to take time away from work without pay to care for them or spend a significant percent of their income on childcare. According to a study by the Urban Institute in 2012, less than half of working-class parents got any kind of paid time off, including sick time. Further, almost 25 percent worked nights, which also poses childcare issues.
If the bank accounts and credit cards were in the husband's name, women may find themselves with little or no money. The divorced mom mentioned earlier offers another lesson, saying "I probably would have kept some things in my own name as a safety net."
The future does not have to be that bleak for North Dakota women. Taking some advice from women who have learned the hard way is a good start. However, having a family law attorney who will work to get you the spousal and child support you need as you begin your new life as a single mother can make a big difference to your financial future.
Source: NBC News, "Divorce Can Mean a Trip Down the Economic Ladder for Women" Martha C. White, Mar. 07, 2015