Nationwide the stay-at-home spouse has been the wife, and Colorado is no different. Although men are now increasingly staying home to raise the children, the majority of stay-at-home spouses are still women. If the couple divorces, the stay-at-home parent will have some unique challenges.
The only people who know if a marriage can be saved are the two people who are in it. That said, if divorce is looming in the future, there are steps that the stay-at-home spouse can take to increase the chance of financial stability in the future.
In an amicable divorce, the working spouse can assist in some of these actions.
- Update all accounts. It is possible that everything will change -- from the name on your Social Security card to the address on your driver's license, your credit card billing address, your 401k ownership and your life insurance beneficiaries. There are checklists online that you can use to make sure you don't forget anything.
- Continue your financial planning. You should have been doing this as a couple, but now it needs to be as a single person. Are you saving for college in addition to your retirement? Make a realistic plan and stick to it.
- Build your credit. Your previous credit may have been connected to your spouse. Start small and build credit with credit cards (paid on time) car loans and other credit building activities.
- Seek help from professionals. A financial planner for your finances and an attorney for an updated will are just a few of the activities that benefit from the advice of a professional.
- Close down your old life. This means disinheriting your spouse, closing those credit cards, transferring your IRAs and other retirement assets and closing any joint accounts.
- Get a new life. You may need vocational counseling or need to go back to school. Take up those activities you were denying yourself and enjoy your new freedoms.
Divorce can be a difficult time although it can be made easier with the assistance of experienced professionals to guide the way.
Source: Forbes, "Seven Must-Do Steps For Women Who Want Financial Stability Post-Divorce," Jeff Landers, July 25, 2012
At our Denver law firm we assist individuals through all of the steps of divorce including those described in this post.