When you experience a divorce, you understand that there is some amount of loss involved. Whether it is financial or emotional, you feel like what you once had is no longer there, and there is nothing that you can do to get it back.
You may wonder what is next in your life. After all, so much of the concept of marriage entails planning a life with another person, and that planning is implicitly permanent, making the uncertainty of life after that marriage ends alarming.
This is why you may throw yourself into your work. There is a level of certainty attached to your job and your career. Going into an office or a jobsite and performing similar tasks day in and day out can be comforting. Not only does it provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment, but it also gives you the means to survive.
With all of the financial challenges that can arise from the divorce process, you may feel compelled to reassess your own situation and see if there are any places where improvements can be made.
One of the easiest areas to start with is alimony and child support. Many who are responsible for payment often are saddled with obligations outside of the reality of their current financial circumstances.
If you are a man or a father facing these types of circumstances, you have nothing to be ashamed about. Pursuing modification with your family law attorney may have a stigma attached to it, but this stigma is based on the false notion that you are not interested in providing for your child.
Additionally, modifying alimony does not mean that you do not wish to help your ex-spouse get back on their feet financially. You simply do not want to make this arrangement permanent, and like the modification of child support, you cannot provide for anyone if you are being sent into poverty by the high amounts of these obligations.
Another avenue you may look to explore is at your current job. For many who go through a divorce and deal with the financial loss as a reality of the situation, they see the need to earn more.
Researchers estimate that divorced spouses would, on average, need more than a 30-percent increase in their incomes to maintain the same standard of living they had prior to their divorce, according to financial advisors at The Balance.
For men, the standard of living degenerates between 10 and 40 percent, according to research from Utah State University. There are a few reasons why the loss is more substantial for men, including the likelihood that they become responsible for child support and alimony and the spousal contribution to the marriage. If the ex-wife contributes a substantial amount of income to the marriage, the man will struggle to make up for the lost income.
The research also suggests that men who provide less than 80 percent of a family’s income before divorce suffer more financially.
You, like so many men and fathers, may find yourself in this type of situation, struggling to deal with the financial burden placed on your shoulders. In looking to ease it, you may consider discussing the situation with members of your company, if you feel that they would be receptive to helping and that it would be feasible for them to do so.
Many companies understand how divorce can affect your work productivity and can make it difficult to simply get through the week. In fact, 9 percent of employees either had to leave their jobs as a result of a divorce or separation from a cohabiting relationship or knew a co-worker who had to do so, according to a survey conducted by the family justice organization, Resolution.
In the United Kingdom, the Center for Social Justice estimates that breakdowns cost the government more than $56.9 billion. This resulted in 16 percent of respondents seeing a co-worker hit by a sick leave, due to the stress or anguish of the breakup. The study also found that 15 percent of respondents stated that divorce or separation had a negative impact on work productivity.
In the United States, similar findings have been indicated. More than 70 percent of employees may be working at lower productivity, due to their own divorce or a co-worker’s divorce, according to the Nashville Business Journal.
With all of this attention being placed on the workforce and how divorce can impact it, many jobs look to assist in easing the burden.
Help from human resources
Human resource departments have the ability to assist in your divorce through their benefits package. Most insurance companies consider divorce a qualifying life event, which creates a special enrollment period for medical insurance. Until medical insurance is acquired, COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) is available.
Human resources also can help with the division of retirement. The company should ask if a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) has been filled out to determine how to properly administer and divide the retirement assets. A QDRO can to pay child support, alimony, or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of a participant, according to the IRS.
While asking for a raise or making your employer understand the difficulties of your current predicament can be challenging, it is worth a shot, especially if they do help you in your time of need.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.