What to Do If I Want a Divorce but I Can’t Support Myself?


Deciding to end a marriage is a profound and challenging decision.

One of the primary concerns for many individuals contemplating divorce is their ability to support themselves financially post-separation.

This concern is particularly valid as, according to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 54% of the attorneys noticed an increase in women paying alimony, indicating a shift in financial responsibilities post-divorce.

In this article, we will explore various aspects to consider and steps to take if you find yourself in the situation of wanting a divorce but feeling financially dependent on your spouse.

Understanding Your Financial Situation

Assessing Your Current Finances

Before making any significant decisions, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your current financial situation.

List out all your assets, liabilities, income, and expenses.

This exercise will help you grasp what you own, what you owe, and your monthly cash flow.

Considering Future Expenses

Post-divorce, your financial responsibilities might increase as you start taking care of expenses previously shared or handled by your spouse.

Anticipate these changes and plan accordingly.

Consider the costs associated with housing, utilities, insurance, and daily living.

Exploring Financial Independence

Building Job Skills

If you have been out of the workforce or working part-time, now might be the time to consider building or updating your job skills.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers in the first quarter of 2023 was $1,002.

Investing in education or vocational training can significantly increase your employability and potential earnings.

Creating a Budget

Create a realistic budget that reflects your anticipated income and expenses post-divorce.

This budget should serve as a guide to help you live within your means and save for the future.

Seeking Professional Advice

Consulting with a Financial Advisor

A financial advisor can provide valuable insight into managing your finances, investments, and savings.

They can help create a tailored financial plan that aligns with your goals and circumstances.

Understanding Alimony and Child Support

If you have children, understanding child support laws in your state is crucial.

Alimony, also known as spousal support, may be another financial resource available to you.

According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, in 2019, only 14% of custodial parents received the full amount of child support owed to them.

Legal advice is essential in these matters to ensure you are aware of your rights and can advocate for a fair outcome.

Building a Support Network

Connecting with Support Groups

There are numerous support groups available for individuals going through a divorce.

These groups provide a platform to share experiences, seek advice, and build connections with others in similar situations.

Leaning on Friends and Family

Do not underestimate the power of a strong support network.

Friends and family can provide emotional support, practical help, and a sense of stability during this turbulent time.

Planning for the Future

Setting Realistic Goals

Setting realistic financial and personal goals for the future is a vital step towards independence.

Identify what you want to achieve in the short, medium, and long term.

Embracing Change and Moving Forward

Divorce marks a significant change in your life, but it also opens up new possibilities.

Embrace the change and focus on building a positive future for yourself.

Remember that financial independence is a journey, and every step forward counts.


In conclusion, wanting a divorce but feeling financially dependent is a challenging situation that requires careful consideration and planning.

Understanding your financial situation, exploring ways to achieve financial independence, seeking professional advice, building a support network, and planning for the future are all critical steps in this journey.

By taking proactive measures and utilizing available resources, you can navigate this uncertain time and work towards a secure and independent future.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I afford to get a divorce if I am not currently working?

It’s essential to consult with a financial advisor and an attorney to understand your options and potential outcomes. They can help you assess your financial situation and guide you on possible spousal support and child support, which may be available to you. Additionally, building job skills and creating a budget for your new financial reality post-divorce can contribute to your ability to support yourself.

2. How long does it typically take to become financially stable after a divorce?

Financial stability post-divorce depends on various factors, including your current job skills, the job market, your expenses, and any received spousal or child support. It’s a personalized journey that can vary significantly from one person to another. A financial advisor can help you set realistic goals and timelines based on your specific situation.

3. Will I be entitled to alimony or spousal support?

Eligibility for alimony or spousal support depends on the laws of your state and your specific circumstances. Factors often considered include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial condition, and their contributions to the marriage. An attorney can provide advice tailored to your situation.

4. What resources are available for someone in my situation?

There are numerous resources available, including financial advisors, attorneys, support groups, vocational training programs, and community services. Leveraging these resources can provide you with the support, information, and skills necessary to navigate this challenging time.

5. How can I manage the increased financial responsibilities post-divorce?

Creating a detailed budget that accounts for your new income and expenses is crucial. You might also need to consider downsizing, eliminating non-essential expenses, and finding additional income sources. A financial advisor can help you make informed decisions and create a sustainable budget.

6. Is it possible to rebuild my life and achieve financial independence after a divorce?

Yes, many individuals have successfully rebuilt their lives and achieved financial independence after a divorce. It requires planning, effort, and the utilization of available resources, but it is indeed possible. Setting realistic goals, seeking professional advice, and building a strong support network can significantly contribute to your success.

7. How can I prepare for the job market if I have been out of work for a long time?

Investing in education, vocational training, or even volunteer work can help update your skills and enhance your resume. Networking and seeking advice from career counselors can also open up opportunities and provide guidance on re-entering the workforce.

8. What emotional support options are available during this time?

Connecting with support groups specifically for individuals going through a divorce can provide a sense of community and understanding. Additionally, therapy or counseling can offer a space to process your emotions and develop coping strategies.

9. How important is it to have a support network during this time?

Having a support network is crucial. Friends, family, and support groups can provide emotional support, practical help, and a sense of stability, which are invaluable during this challenging time.

10. What steps can I take to ensure a fair outcome in terms of alimony and child support?

Seeking legal advice is essential. An attorney can help you understand your rights, the laws in your state, and advocate on your behalf for a fair outcome. Being informed and prepared can significantly impact the results in terms of alimony and child support.

Including these FAQs provides readers with quick answers to common questions and concerns regarding financial stability and divorce, enhancing the article’s usefulness and comprehensiveness.

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