Too often, people stay in unhappy marriages because they have fears about divorce. That’s particularly true for people who have been married for most of their adult lives, and even more so for women. They may have been out of the workforce more than their spouse and therefore concerned about their financial future after divorce.
As with almost any situation, it can help to recognize and even list your specific fears rather than just have an overwhelming sense of dread hanging over you. These may include things like the following:
- Will I have enough money to live on my own?
- Where will I live?
- Can I handle the responsibilities of living on my own?
- How will my children and other family react?
- Will I lose friends whom my spouse and I share?
- What if I’m alone for the rest of my life?
While legal and financial guidance can’t help with all of these questions, it can help with the biggest fears around your financial security – particularly if you’re getting close to your retirement years.
Information and guidance can assuage your fears
It’s important to get independent guidance. Don’t rely on professionals who have handled your and your spouse’s needs for years. You’ll need to build a support team.
If you’re not ready to start talking to advisors just yet, do some reading and listening. Find out more about what kind of settlement can seek. Make sure you have a handle on all of your marital and separate assets and debts.
If you’re concerned about what your life will look like after divorce, there are plenty of podcasts, books and blogs out there. Talking to family and friends who’ve been through it (and whom you trust not to tell your spouse) can help. Just remember that divorce is different for everyone. Don’t let someone’s bad experience frighten you off. You may be able to learn from it.
Remember that seeking legal guidance doesn’t mean you have to follow through with divorce. It can help you get an idea of what divorce and your life afterward can look like for you.