3 Ways Divorce Can Affect Your Career
A divorce is more than just a personal change—it can alter your professional life as well. While you might be focusing primarily on the emotional pressures and personal issues that come with divorce, there are several practical concerns that require your attention. Often when a person leaves a marriage, this change also means you might have to rethink the way you currently work. For instance, if you work full-time, you might have to adjust to a new role as a single parent by cutting hours. Alternatively, if you weren’t working during your marriage, you might need a job to help support yourself.
Whatever the circumstances, it is highly likely your career will be impacted by your divorce in one way or another. In order to prepare yourself for this potential change, find out what you can anticipate.
Changing Your Priorities at Work
While you’re going through your divorce, you’re going to be very busy. Between meetings with your attorney, conferences with your financial advisor or tax accountant, court dates, and gathering information and documents, you’ll have your hands full. Unfortunately, some of your divorce tasks might require week-day work. You might receive calls from your attorney or bank while you’re in the office, need to make an appointment over lunch, or go to court on a workday. For this reason, you will likely need some flexibility while you work these details out. Many need to use paid time off (PTO) for court dates and other necessary appointments that fall on workdays. You can also discuss your situation with your manager and figure out how much flexibility you have to work with. Don’t be afraid to be open about your needs, but be practical about balancing work and your personal life.
Cutting Back Hours or Increasing Hours
The divorce process can be expensive, especially if you pay for your own residence now, or if you have to pay alimony to your spouse. In either case, you might need to increase your work hours to earn more. Alternatively, if you have a child, you might need to cut back your hours as you adjust to life as a newly single parent. On days when you have custody, you may need to leave early to pick up your child from school, or go to the office later in order to take your child to daycare.
Re-Entering the Workforce
Many stay-at-home parents and unemployed/under-employed spouses must reenter the workforce after they divorce as a means to pay for their new home, food, clothes, and other essentials. While a stay-at-home spouse may receive spousal support as part of the divorce settlement, it may be temporary or may not be enough to allow that person to remain unemployed. Even going back to work part-time can be challenging, especially if you haven’t worked for an extended period. If you have a degree or past career, this might be easier, but in any case, it might be wise to consider educational courses to refresh your skills. Also, read our tips for getting back to work after a divorce.
Start Preparing Early
Depending on your situation, there are several ways you can make this new transition easier on yourself and your family. If you have children, don’t be afraid to ask relatives and close friends for help, at least in the beginning as you and your ex-spouse get the details figured out. Childcare can be expensive, so figure out what you can do to accommodate your children while you work—or consider the possibility that staying home might be the best option right now.
Even if you don’t have kids, you could benefit from looking into your budget and figuring out where you stand.
- Do you need a higher paying job to support this change?
- Do you need to put in more hours?
- Are you going to need to cut back on hours to stay home more?
- Will you need to pay for childcare?
- Will you need to find a job? If so, do you need training?
Only you know the answers to these questions—so sit down with your accounts and take stock of your situation sooner rather than later.
Questions? Contact McKinley Irvin to discuss your situation with our attorneys and find out how we can help you.