Despite movement toward equality for men and women in the workplace and other areas, many married couples have little balance when it comes to finances. One spouse may depend on the income of the other. This may be by choice, such as when a parent stays home to raise children, or it may be out of the spouse’s control, such as when he or she has a disability or the other spouse is abusive or controlling. When one spouse is financially dependent on the other, it may be difficult for the dependent spouse to achieve financial stability during and after a divorce.
Unfortunately, for many in unhappy marriages, one spouse’s lack of financial resources means they feel stuck with no way out of the relationship. It may be a slow process, but taking the following small steps to obtain some financial independence may provide a light at the end of the tunnel:
- Learning as much as possible about Pennsylvania divorce laws and the rights of spouses during asset division
- Working with a professional to develop an exit strategy that will minimize financial complications or mistakes
- Gathering information such as bank and credit card statements to determine the household income and spending
- Creating a budget that includes financial goals both short- and long-term
- Finding work, whether part-time or work-from-home gigs, that allows them to stash a little money in a separate account
Of course, income from even a part-time job may affect the dependent spouse’s divorce settlement amount. Support payments and obtaining one’s fair share of marital assets may be essential to financial success after the divorce. Therefore it is wise to follow the counsel of one’s legal advisor.