Even as the “dual-income, no kids,” or DINK, mentality has grown over the last decade or so, there are still plenty of stay-at-home moms and dads in Tulsa who put their careers on hold to raise their children. Should those parents suddenly face divorce or separation, they naturally worry about how to re-enter the workforce and become financially self-sustaining.
The good news is that with a little foresight and diligence, staying financially afloat following divorce is possible. Consider the following tips:
Be sure to discuss spousal support
Alimony, as it is more commonly known, isn’t required by Oklahoma law, but it may be available for parents who have been out of the workforce for some time. Spousal support can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on key factors like the length of your marriage, your job prospects and your individual earning potential. In some cases, it can also be used for further education or vocational training if you need to update your skills to be competitive in the workforce.
Open separate accounts in your own name as soon as possible
Your credit score may take a hit once you close joint accounts or credit cards. Opening a new checking account and perhaps a credit card can help you start rebuilding your individual credit right away.
Doing so also safeguards your money from adverse actions. For example, if your divorce is highly contested, your spouse may take the opportunity to drain your joint accounts, run up huge credit card debts or change the passwords on your checking or savings account. It’s sneaky and hurtful, but it’s amazing what people do when they are emotionally compromised.
Start looking for new health coverage now
It’s highly likely that your spouse’s work-provided health insurance has covered your entire family up until now. Now that you’re getting divorced, you’ll need to find your own health coverage. If you have already found a job, ask your HR department about your options. You may also look for plans from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. There is generally a grace period for those who get divorced to find new coverage for themselves and their dependents.
Create a budget and stick to it
Personal finance may never have been your particular expertise, but now is the time to learn some of the basics of budgeting. Living on a single income will take some getting used to, even if you are good at managing money.
There are plenty of resources available to help you, some more trustworthy than others. Take care with advice you receive from well-meaning friends or family members. If needed, consult with your divorce lawyer, a professional financial planner or certified public accountant to ensure you don’t make any reckless or potentially harmful financial mistakes as you get started on your newly single life.