There is inevitably less money after divorce and that means adjusting your lifestyle and/or increasing your income. It can also mean developing a new career after divorce.
Wendi was a nurse when she met her husband who was a physician. After their marriage she helped run the medical practice for much of their 22-year marriage. Given the hostility of their divorce and the small town where they lived, it wasn’t feasible for her to return to nursing as a career after their divorce so she had to find a new path. Here’s Wendi:
I’d been talking to lawyers, I’d been looking online and talking to women and right now the consensus is that they advise women to get any type of job during the divorce. They want to show that the spouse is earning money and if it’s not a top level job, that kind of works in their favor, because when they average out the two jobs and sometimes people like me may get a little bit more alimony, because I’m not an OR nurse or something like that.
I got a job. It was above minimum wage, but not that much above. It was in the retail sector. We live in a small town with one hospital and there was no way I could work in the hospital, because we had restraining orders against each other and we can’t go to each other’s place of work. I couldn’t work in the hospital if I wanted to.
However, writing my book is my number one accomplishment, that I was able to take these experiences—it’s not really my life or my story, it’s what I learned talking about dividing personal assets and then reaching out to other women knowing that they may have stories that they may want to talk about and putting all that wisdom and advice and talking about what is litigation and what’s mediation, what is collaborative, how to deal with in-laws and stepmothers.
I put all of this in the book and that is my greatest achievement. I’m trying to turn what was a really bad experience into something I can make a living from and to reach out and help people.
I’ve had articles published before under another name but when you’re put down a lot in marriage as part of the emotional abuse, sometimes you feel like you’re not good enough or worthy enough. I had those feelings.
I’m also a hypnotherapist and I’m a neurolingistic programmer and NLP and I couldn’t find any material that had stuff like that. I found books on just children or legal stuff. I didn’t find anything that tied a lot of the emotional aspects and moving on spirituality and how to deal with anger. I felt like because I had that background, I needed to write this book to help people and because I felt like it was my calling.
I gathered material for like two years, because I interviewed all of these people and a lot of men too. Men gave some really great insights and tips. The actual writing was the shortest part. It maybe took me six months and I think editing took longer than that. Editing was what really took a long time.
I wanted a traditional publisher. A lot of people said, “Oh, you know, you can self-publish,” but I wanted a traditional publisher, so that took a little bit of time to get one. But that’s my greatest accomplishment.
The Divorce Coach Says
You do need to listen to your attorney’s advice about getting/changing a job while you’re going through your divorce and you need to weigh that against your gut instinct.
Your focus needs to be on being able to financially support yourself and children after divorce. While spousal support may be a part of that, for most people those payments are for a limited period of time. Plus, being awarded spousal support and receiving it are often two different things. Changes in employment, health issues and even death, as well as simple reluctance can make spousal support uncertain.
Receiving spousal support does provide a cushion that allows for retraining or developing new skills that can lead to an entirely new career, such as nursing, or something you considered before but never pursued. It can also ease the transition from being a stay-at-home parent to working parent.
It’s a great opportunity to start over and as Wendi says, accomplishing something you’ve never done before can be very empowering.
Wendi Schuller is the author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce. Read more about Wendi’s book and follow her blog at her website.
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