In lengthier marriages where one partner has been a stay-at-home spouse and parent for most of the marriage, the homebound spouse often asks: should I look to get a job now that I know my spouse and I are going to divorce?
There are differing schools of thought on this important question. And sometimes the answer really depends on all the particulars of a given case.
But whether one generally favors putting off (or avoiding altogether) a return to the workforce or diving back in as soon as possible, there are considerations to bear in mind beyond the current number of dollars of salary potentially traded for dollars of current alimony:
- health insurance and other employee benefits of a job
- social security contributions for the future
- retirement benefits
- future raises
- a foot in the workplace at a time of life where that may be difficult to achieve
- the potential for the ex’s death (although life insurance generally can protect against that eventuality)
- the potential for the ex’s disability (statistically a likelier risk, which is less likely to be adequately protected against)
- the potential for the ex’s job loss or career setback
And, of course, the psychological and social benefits of working, which can be very beneficial to people going through divorce.
For more informatione see the Orlando Sentinel article by Jan Warner & Jan Collins below.
Divorce is pending: Is it wise to accept job offer?
Question: My husband, 53, and I, 47, have been married 24 years. I recently discovered he has been having an affair with my best friend; we are now in the throes of divorce. I have worked sporadically since our children were born (they are now 21, 17 and 12). Last fall, before I knew my husband was sleeping around, I took a part-time job. That company has offered me a full-time position at $32,000 a year, which is more than the hourly wage I make now. But with my divorce pending, I don’t know whether it’s beneficial to me to take it or not because my husband earns $120,000 annually, and my support and alimony might be reduced.
My attorney tells me not to live for divorce, and that if I can work full time, I should. He also said it would look better to the judge if I am willing to work full time. What are the advantages and disadvantages of going to work full time?
Answer: In today’s economy, it is astounding that anyone would even ask this question. I wholeheartedly agree with your lawyer — no one should live for divorce. In addition to "looking good to the judge," there are several important reasons why you should not turn down full-time employment:
*Because the job market for women of any age, especially yours, is not the best, the economics of your future — chances for advancement, benefits, health insurance, contributions to your Social Security, chances for raises, etc. — are much more important than trying to get more from your soon-to-be ex-husband.
*If you don’t take care of yourself economically and take advantage of what appears to be a good opportunity, and if you rely on good support payments from your husband, should he die, become disabled or lose his job in this uncertain economy, you and your children could really be in trouble.
*A good lawyer representing your husband would go to your employer during the discovery process and find out that you had turned down a full-time position. And, if proved, what you are able to earn could well be imputed to you just as if you were earning it. As your lawyer has told you, this is not a good way to meet the judge.
*Finally, if you get divorced and continue your husband’s coverage through COBRA for 36 months, you will be at the mercy of the health-insurance market thereafter. I suggest that you use your talents, take the full-time job and begin your new life by empowering yourself to face the future.
SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel