Coping with Job Loss During Divorce
Job loss is a difficult experience at the best of times, but when it happens during the divorce process, it can feel like the final straw — especially if you have been the breadwinner and now worry about having enough money to pay child support, spousal support, or even your bills.
In this unfortunate situation, not only are you faced with the emotional pain that accompanies a break-up, but you must also worry about how you're going to support yourself and your family. This can be an incredibly stressful time, but there are things you can do to make it a little bit easier.
Tips for coping with job or income loss-related stress
Doing something proactive will help you feel more in control of your situation. If you lose your job in the midst of your divorce process, the first thing to do is take time for yourself. With so many other things going on, that may sound like a tall order. But you need to grieve the loss of both your job and your marriage because unresolved grief – in which you don’t allow yourself the time and space to feel all the feelings associated with your loss – can have a detrimental effect on long-term physical and mental health.
Here are some more tips.
- Talk to someone who understands what you're going through.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
- Exercise regularly to release endorphins and help yourself feel better.
- Spend time with friends and family, or take up a new hobby to keep yourself busy.
- Seek professional help if the stress is too much to handle on your own.
- Explore possible employment solutions, as noted below.
Ways to feel empowered and in control after job loss
While you may feel like you're getting slammed from every direction, remember that you have control over your new employment prospects as well as the new chapter you’re about to start as a single person. Here are some possible solutions to gaining new employment.
Take inventory of your job skills and resume
Before seeking new employment, dust off your resume, and take inventory of what you’ve got to offer. Since you last submitted your resume to potential employers, have you acquired any new skills or notable experiences? Chance are you have. Even something that seems small to you — like using a new software program or holding a certain role within a team — can help a resume look more impressive.
Consider your post-divorce life situation
As you transition into this new life phase, your financial situation and needs may differ from before. Maybe you anticipate receiving spousal support or alimony from your ex-spouse. Maybe you now have full child custody and need to be at home more. Maybe you will have new childcare expenses in your new living situation — or maybe you won’t have to pay as much for childcare as you did before.
Regardless of your situation, embrace the possibility of change. Maybe it’s time to start that contracting business or find that work-from-home job you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe it’s time to go back to school. Maybe it will be possible to switch from a full-time job to a part-time job, or vice versa.
Look at the labor market
The economy has been in flux, and the labor market may be more or less conducive to finding a new job right now. What is the current unemployment rate? Are layoffs starting to happen in your community, or is there a labor shortage? Keep this information in mind when determining what sort of jobs you might want. And, if you think you should apply for unemployment benefits, now is the time to do so. You might find work in the meantime, but you might not. It can’t hurt to cover your bases.
Network and check online job listings
One of the best ways to do start your job search is by networking with people you know. Let them know you’re on the hunt for a new job, and see if they know of any openings. You can also use online resources such as Indeed.com, LinkedIn or Monster.com to search for both part-time and full-time jobs. Be proactive and diligent in your job search, and don't give up. There are jobs out there to be found.
Look at possible financial solutions
If you’re finding it difficult to cope with the financial stress of job loss and divorce, there are several resources available to help. Here are some of the most commonly used resources.
Certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA)
A CDFA is a certified divorce financial analyst who can help you create a budget and understand your financial situation. They can also offer advice on how to manage your money during and after your divorce. You can find a CDFA by searching online for one in your area or by asking family members and friends for recommendations.
With an uncertain employment status, the last thing you may want to do is hire an expensive divorce lawyer. If you cannot afford a divorce lawyer, you may be able to get free or reduced-cost legal assistance from a legal aid clinic. Search online for one in your city or county.
If you need money to cover expenses related to your divorce, you may be able to take out a loan from a bank or credit union. Some banks even offer divorce loans to help you get through the expense of divorce.
Suggested reading: Personal Loan Mistakes to Avoid During Divorce
You may be able to have your court fees waived if you can prove your financial need. Contact your local court clerk to find out their process for requesting a fee waiver. If approved, your court fees may be entirely waived or the cost reduced.
Take care of yourself
It is essential that you look after your well-being and mental health right now. This means making time for yourself, even if it's just a short amount each day. Take a walk, read a book, or take a bath. Doing something that relaxes you will help you cope with the stress of these events.
If the stress is too much to handle on your own, you may also want to consider help from a support group or mental health professional. There are many resources available, such as therapists and counseling services. These can be great options for getting the support you need during this difficult time.