The days of getting maintenance for life are over.
High wealth spouses may get a large settlement, but it is rare to receive spousal support for decades. If you have been a stay-at-home parent – your solicitor may insist upon you finding a job during divorce proceedings for these reasons:
- You have a source of income.
- To get a sense of empowerment. One feels more in control of their life when being employed and not being financially dependent upon someone else. When both spouses are making some money (no matter how little) the balance of power shifts away from the sole earner. One does not appear desperate during divorce, even if earning much less than their former partner.
- The new job’s salary can factor into the maintenance equation. In some countries the amount of income for both spouses is taken into consideration. Instead looking at a potential salary which can be unrealistic, what one is presently earning in the new job may be used when determining maintenance. For example, a nurse who worked with her husband in an office got a divorce and lost her job. Her solicitor mandated that she get another one immediately. She did, but in retail. She had not worked in a hospital in over two decades, yet her husband and his solicitor were trying to say her salary would be X amount if she got a job in the operating room. This was an unreasonable expectation, especially when other candidates would be more qualified for that position. Her solicitor said no, what she is currently earning would be the guide for the amount of spousal support. Had she not gotten that lower paying job quickly, she would have received less in support.
How do you go about getting a job in a hurry? Update your curriculum vitae (CV), getting professional help if needed. Check the classified sections to get an idea of what jobs are available and their requirements.
The way many of us in the midst of divorce got jobs, was to ask businesses that we patronize if there was an opening. Yes that takes guts, but I did this and worked five years at that company post-divorce. An acquaintance going broke paying legal fees, unloaded her wardrobe at a consignment shop.
They gave her a job which she really enjoyed until she moved out of the city. A fellow with no experience in a restaurant got a job as a waiter, because the staff like his positive attitude as a customer.
A woman in my parenting class got a receptionist job at her cat’s veterinarian clinic. She then used some of this money after divorce to train as a masseuse. Even if a business that knows you does not have any job availability, they may know someone that does.
Let your friends and family know that you have to get a job right away and ask if they have any leads. Go to an employment centre for assistance.
There are some charities that help people find work. Ask other parents at your children’s school if they have any ideas. A few parents got part-time jobs at the schools, doing after school activities and other duties. The nice thing about this is that they see their children when they have shared care time with the other parent. Be creative, but not too picky. This is not something you have to do for the rest of your life.
If the other solicitor and your spouse insist that you can jump right back on the career ladder where you left off a decade or two ago, then do some research to see how much it would cost to upgrade your skills with training or to get a needed certificate.
Some fields now require a Master’s degree when they did not before, so check on current job requirements. A career coach can give an estimate on the cost of training to get you back into your career. This amount can be included in the divorce settlement. A career coach can guide you with how to get back into work or to take a new path.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certied in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 100 published articles.