Marcy hadn’t worked in four years and suddenly was faced with an amazing six-figure job offer – but the offer came right in the middle of her extremely nasty divorce. “Should I take it?” she asked. “What about child support? Alimony? Custody?” My answer was absolutely YES – take the job! Here are my top 6 reasons why you should take the job, regardless of your divorce:
- Financial Control. When you rely on your spouse for support, you lose control over your finances. In a divorce setting, this can mean you go for months without support because your spouse is playing games to punish you for the divorce. Yes, there may be a court order, but that doesn’t mean he is following it! It takes money in legal fees to enforce it, meanwhile your mortgage is due. Earning your own money gives you control over your finances. You become self-reliant. There is no amount of money that is worth not having to beg for it. You may have to wait for various support checks, but your paycheck is secure.
- Confidence. If you have been at home for some time, either by job loss or choice, being out in the working world can be a huge confidence boost. In addition to meeting new friends and having time to focus on something other than your divorce, you are acquiring skills that can make you feel good about yourself. Feeling good about yourself will lead to new internal strength that you need to survive a nasty divorce.
- Custody. “If I go to work, I’ll lose my kids.” I have never had a case where a parent was deemed unfit because he or she works. There are many factors for determining custody and “working” is not the standard. Children need to go to school. Parents need to support their kids. Most judges will see you getting back to work as a positive development – after all, you are doing everything you can to make your household a great place for your child. Remember, you cannot cut short the other parent’s time with the kids by simply staying at home. Time with the kids is precious, and you will have to learn how to share regardless.
- Child Support. When Marcy and I sat down and ran the numbers, the numbers shifted by only 6 percent. She would lose a little and gain an entire income of her own. In many cases women are paid far less and the cost of daycare can feel overwhelming. Make sure you talk to your lawyer about each spouse’s contribution to the cost of daycare in addition to basic child support. The math may not make sense in the short run, but you must look at the big picture. A career can last a lifetime, whereas child support will absolutely end. There are also some intangibles that must be considered: control over your life and confidence that a job will provide.
- Alimony. Courts are shying away from long-term alimony awards and starting to view alimony as a short-term solution to help a spouse get back to work. Talk to your lawyer about how much alimony you might get, but remember that in many cases alimony is taxable to you as income. Compare whether the amount you will earn at your job is going to be more than the amount of alimony you would receive, but also factor in the long-term benefit of a career that pays you until you retire (compared to only few years of alimony). Do not cut your finances to receive more in the short-term, because you may be hurting your resume and career in the long-run.
- Divorce is not forever. Contrary to the popular saying, the divorce process will come to an end and life goes on. What will you do with your new life? Establishing a career and getting back to work now can set you up for your new life once the case is over.
Have you been faced with a career opportunity that happened while your divorce was in progress? How did you resolve getting to work during your case? Discuss in the comments.