Did You Forget About Your Own Career During Your Marriage?

Did You Forget About Your Own Career During Your Marriage? by Fabienne Swartz

{3:15 minutes to read} Every divorce is unique. On one end of town, there may be a family struggling to make ends meet, who literally can’t afford to start the divorce process. On “the other side of the tracks,” there may be another family worth millions, thanks to the husband’s brilliant career, which was only made possible by the wife’s sacrifices. Unfortunately, the comfort that she enjoys is more like getting renovations done on a house that she’s renting; it may be nice while she lives there, but in the case of a divorce, she would have to move out and the landlord (her husband) will enjoy the spoils of her toils. 

In the meantime, her skills have atrophied, as new technology has evolved in leaps and bounds and her old professional networks have thinned out thanks to attrition. If she were to divorce, what are her chances of getting back on a career path and finding a job that would actually cover the cost of living? 

The job market is totally different from what it used to be 10-20 years ago. Most likely she would have to start at the bottom, with lower pay, no seniority, and fewer opportunities for advancement—if her job even exists anymore. 

By the time many women seek to re-enter the workforce, the job types and required skills have majorly shifted. This, in combination with a resume gap, makes reentry challenging.

In 2008, Goldmach Sachs popularized the concept of reentry with the trademarked term “Returnship.” Working Mother magazine recently compiled a list of 14 programs (3 are listed below) that provide assistance to women eager to reenter the workforce. Click here to see Working Mother’s full list. 

•iRelaunch: This expert return-to-work organization provides information on 108 active programs. They collaborate with employers, universities, and professional associations. Click here for more information.

•The Mom Project: This program connects women with flexible job opportunities and remote work—ideal for some women who may want the best of both the home and corporate worlds. Click here for more information. 

•OnRamp Fellowship: Connecting women to the legal and financial fields, this program places women in paid positions and fellowships. Click here for more information. 

Returning to work is an obvious option. However, you may be thinking: What about alimony? Alimony, also known as spousal support, is no longer an open-ended arrangement. In New York, women (or any less-monied spouse) are expected to become self-supporting.

There are some legal safeguards you can take to avoid this from happening, like obtaining a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Personally, I think being a self-sufficient, vital member of society is the best scenario—especially if you are lucky enough to be able to do something you love. Plus, by being able to support yourself, you are essentially moving out of a rented home and into one that you own, and where all of your improvements and innovations can accumulate over time without the fear of ever having to start from scratch again.

For more information about evidence-based strategies for re-entering the workforce, you may want to consider engaging a coach. For more information about the services that I can offer you, contact me!

Fabienne Swartz JD (Belgium) CDFATM
Certified Divorce Financial AnalystTM
500 Mamaroneck Av.
Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
(914) 798-6940

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