How Much Money Will You Need for Your Post-Divorce Life?

Divorce can be emotionally freeing for women, but it can also be financially devastating. Women, far more than men, face a stark plummet in their standard of living after divorce. That is why, if you are considering divorce, you must start planning right now for your post-divorce life. One of the most important questions you’ll need to answer is how much money will you need to survive and thrive.

Get Ready for the Transition

Not all women face a lower of standard of living as a result of divorce. However, in her book, The Divorce Revolution, author Lenore Weitzman found that an average woman faces a 73% loss in her standard of living after divorce, while the average ex-husband is likely to enjoy a 42% boost in his standard of living! This significant disparity can be explained by the fact that many men are still the breadwinners in their households and that women still overwhelmingly receive primary custody of children.

If these numbers make you nervous, that’s a good thing. We don’t mean to scare you away from divorce, but we do want you to be fully prepared for what comes next.

How Much Will You Need After Divorce?

You do not have to face a 73% loss in your standard of living, especially if you come into your divorce knowing how much you need to maintain your current standard of living. If you have time to plan for your divorce, start adding up all of your living costs. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Should I keep the house or should I move into a cheaper home or consider renting?
  • How much will I likely spend on groceries after my divorce?
  • How much will I spend on utilities?
  • How much are my current payments for things such as my car loan, car insurance, health insurance, retirement savings, etc?
  • How much do I need to have saved for unexpected expenses?
  • Do I plan on asking for shared or full custody of the children? How much will it cost to care for them?

Try to be as realistic as possible when recording your expenses. While certain bills, such as your grocery costs, may be a little lower without your husband in the picture, you may be surprised at how expensive your life will be even without him. This is especially true if you were relying on him for health insurance and retirement savings. These may be new costs that you have to add to your budget.

Use Your Budget as a Negotiating Stepping Stone

Use your research to create a realistic budget of the expenses you’ll face once you are on your own. Consider adding 10% on top as a cushion for little unknown expenses that always pop up. This is the amount you’ll have to earn after divorce on your own to support yourself. If your current income does not cover the amount, you’ll either have to find ways to lower your costs (perhaps by moving to a less expensive home), or you’ll have to try to negotiate a divorce settlement with your husband that can make up the difference.

If you aren’t sure how you will afford your post-divorce life, now is the time to speak with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. A CDFA can help you determine a more reasonable budget or help you figure out what to negotiate for in the divorce. An experienced divorce attorney can also be a big help!

Not sure where to start with your divorce planning? That’s what the Second Saturday Divorce Workshop is for. We bring together divorce experts, including divorce attorneys and financial consultants, to help you prepare for your divorce.

20 thoughts on “How Much Money Will You Need for Your Post-Divorce Life?”

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  4. janice leggett

    i wants to know if i’m in titje to my husband social after divorce, we were together for 10 years

  5. I have been a homemaker for 25 years. My husband has decided he wants to be single and is claiming I do not need spousal support even though he knows I cannot go back into my field without going back to school. He says that I should be able to live on my mom’s inheritance (roughly 55,000). I also have chronic health problems so I need to be able to make enough money to afford insurance and my medications. Is this even possible that he could get his way on this? He’s an attorney to boot.

  6. In 1999 I went through my first divorce. I ended up in the Emergency Room twice both times staying a day or two in the hospital from stress. After getting remarried in 2002 and being married for 15 years it looks like I am getting another divorce from my present husband. I was on this site looking for info on how to get set up with my own health insurance but couldn’t help seeing all the painful stories that reminded me of my own journey. The thing that has helped me the most has been support groups with other women. Their stories are usually amazing and listening to heartbreak that I’m not emotionally involved in has helped me figure out what to do in my own life. I’m so sorry for all of us, but we are not alone.

  7. My husband of 22 years had secretly planning our divorce for months. He moved money from different accounts, used retirement funds to pay off my car, paid off our mortgage and more without my knowledge. He makes over 4 times my salary. I know I am eligible for child support because my 15 year old wants to live with me. Is alimony something in the cards? After I have to get my own health insurance I will have even less of a salary to cover basic expenses.

  8. I have been married to my husband for 35 years. I worked for the first 31 years of our marriage. I was injured
    at work in Oct of 2010 and kept on working, I was injured again when I was pushed down the stairs at work in May of 2011 but kept on working, I was injured again at work in march of 2013 and that was the final injury that kept me from working any longer. I was also injured in a hit and run accident while driving from one doctors appointment to another in September of 2014. I received $2820.64 tax free every month from workmen compensation. We lived in Hawaii. My husband lost his job in Hawaii and got another job in Florida. We , my husband , our 11 year old son and I moved from Hawaii to Florida. After being in Florida for only six months the company I had worked for stopped paying me. My attorney had a massive coronary and I was unaware of this info and could not fight it from Florida, so I was stuck in Florida with no more income to contribute to our household finances.For the entire 35 years of marriage I have done all the cooking, cleaning, laundry , birthday, holidays, school events, doctor and dental appointments etc, Literally everything and worked full time until end of March of 2013. Now 2017 is the first year I have not brought any income into our household but I still do everything else. I was recently diagnosed with MS and a prominent brain tumor. The day after the diagnosis my husband of 35 years informed me in a very cold and callus way that he no longer was in love with me and wants a divorce, he said he want to see other women and he want to take our son from me as well. He does not want to be with a woman who has health issues and he said our son does not need to be exposed to that either. Who does something like this? I am so very devastated. I have no income now , I am not in the best way health wise right now and my husband took all of the money out of our joint bank account.. He took a loan against my car which was paid for, now I literally have nothing and no where to go. He is telling our son I am mentally unstable, I have no income and our son should go with him and not me. This is so devastating I do not know what to do or where to turn. I am in a State where I have no family and no friends, I left everything behind in Michigan for him and then again in Hawaii for him, now I find myself 54 years of age in this horrible situation. I do not know what to do or where to turn. Do you have any advice or suggestions for me, my head is spinning. Thank you.

  9. I have been living with my husband for 31 years-married 22. We have a 19 year old daughter who is a college sophomore. My husband inherited the house we have lived in for the 31 years ago and we lived there ever since and then inherited another home in 2013 and about 1/2 million in cash. He hasn’t worked since the Fall of 2013 as he ended up deathly ill in 2014 requiring a heart transplant. He was never at any point declared disabled but just chooses to live off his money and not work. He pays very little of our daughter’s expenses just as it has been since the day she was born! He feels he needs his inheritance to live on and can’t help with her education or expenses. So far out of $30,000 + he gave me $3600. I carry the families insurance for last 22 years. Can you give me an idea on what claim I have on any of his assets? We live in Massachusetts and I myself have about $200,000 in assets.

  10. Hi!
    I need your advice. My husband and I married goe 7years and live together before marriage 10 years so total 17 years. We have 2 kids 18 years old in college and 15 years old who has autism. I used to work full time but when my son was diagnosed wirh autism I started to work only part time. We bought a house 12 years ago with 50-50 share but the house is under my name because my husbands credit was bad. Now, for the last 4 years our marriage was on the rocks and I don’t think we can live together in the same house. I asked him to file for divorce because I can’t afford financially. But he refused because he don’t want to leave the house because he is intitled to it. He’s yearly salary is $100k plus bonus and i only make $ 150 a week i usef to make $600 a week but he asked me to quit and work only part time but now im worried because i have no mone save but at the same I can’t live him anymore we fight every day and I don’t think its healthy for the family. Please please help me and give an idea of what will happen aftet divorce, am i gonna lose my house, my kids?

      1. Sorry, how can she afford an attorney? It seems like that expense will make everything worse. Can you provide some guidance on how to get an attorney if you can’t afford one?

        1. See if there’s a legal aid society in your area that offers discounted legal fees to those with limited means. You can ask at the county clerk’s office to see if they have resources they can lead you to.

  11. Where can I go to a second Saturday meeting?
    I live in Dayton Ohio.
    Also has anyone be able to break a prenuptial agreement? If so please email me? I
    I have been going through a divorce for a one year and nine months. I have been to court four times now. My attorney says that the hearing should be the last one. We have been married for nineteen years. We did not having any children together but I have two grown children from my first husband whom I was widowed from after 23 years of marriage. When I married this husband I was debt free and owned a home. I don’t have any debt but I don’t have a home any longer because I sold it and used the money to raise my son who was twelve when his dad died. My present husband has two adult children. I signed this prenup the day before the wedding. He presented the prenup to me three weeks before the wedding and I took it my attorney who handled all the legal matters and probate when my first husband died. She told me that I should not sign it because I had a lot to loose. But in the heat of passion I loved this man I signed it. He of course told me not to worry because he would always take care of me. IHOPE THIS will help others to take heed. I even asked my priest about signing a prenup. He told me that the Catholic Church does not recognize prenup because marriage is based on trust. But again I was in love passionately. We dated and were engaged for almost a year and half before we married. I am now living in a cramped apartment that is old and not kept up as promised by my landlord. My standard of living has a least dropped by 75%. But at least I feel safe and don’t feel like I am walking on eggs anymore.
    I am praying that I judge will rule in favor of voided the prenuptial agreement. Long story short dO NOT SIGN A PRENUP!

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