Dealing with the divorce process when you aren’t self-sufficient can be harrowing

Coping with divorce or separation is never easy, but moving on from a marriage when you’re co-dependent on your partner is tough.

Maybe your spouse covered all the bills and organised the finances. Perhaps you gave up your career to stay at home with the kids. Whatever the case, dealing with the divorce process when you aren’t self-sufficient can be harrowing.

We spoke with Chris Costello, the Co-founder of Blooom, an affordable 401K management service, to find out what women should be considering when it comes to their finances and divorce.

“For women who have recently experienced a divorce, I would strongly recommend that they sit down and do a thorough revisit of their budget and assessment of their assets. This is no time to ignore it. It would be even better to find a local, certified financial planner who can put together a plan for your new financial situation,” says Costello.

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Going through a marriage separation can leave many women feeling lost, confused, and desperate to learn the ins and outs of personal finance. There are legal fees to be paid, debts to be settled, and the start-up costs of a post-divorce life.

Getting a divorce can be financially and emotionally taxing, but becoming an independent woman is absolutely possible. The sooner you break the cycle of co-dependency, the easier it will be to move on after the break-up.

READ MORE: 8 Steps to making positive changes after divorce

Here are five things that every self-sufficient woman knows about preparing for divorce, so that you can not only survive, but also thrive:

1. Understanding your finances is a must

Co-dependency is natural in long-term relationships, especially when it comes to finances. However, when you and your spouse decide to split up, you’ll need to be up to speed on debt, bills and divorce costs. Are there unpaid credit cards in your name? Joint investments? What’s the state of your investment portfolio? And what kind of savings are you working with?

Don’t worry though, understanding your finances is possible, especially with the help of a quality financial advisor. The right financial team can help you learn how to get through a divorce without losing track of your finances.

2. Planning for retirement is now a major priority

If you planned to grow old with your spouse, a divorce can put a major spanner in your vision for retirement.

Maybe you were depending on your partner’s retirement package to get through your golden years. Perhaps you never secured a retirement fund of your own. Whatever the case, planning for retirement is now a major priority if you want to remain self-sufficient through old age.

Work with a financial advisor to determine your budget, your savings, how much you’ll need to retire, and by what age you can stop working.

Getting retirement right will ensure that you have a security net once you’re out of the workforce.

Getting a divorce can be financially and emotionally taxing, but becoming an independent woman is absolutely possible

3. Developing a budget is life-saving

If you want to know how to divorce without going broke, you’ll need to start a budget.

By taking note of money that’s coming in and out, and actively reducing your expenses, you can survive a separation with your mind and bank account intact.

For many married couples, only one person is in charge of the budget, leaving the other at a disadvantage when getting a divorce. From grocery shopping and the kid’s school supplies to the water bill and monthly investments, a budget can keep things running smoothly.

Consider creating a spreadsheet on your laptop – by cutting costs, tracking spending, and creating a well-designed budget, you can have the funds you need to make it on your own after divorce.

READ MORE: Going through a painful break-up or divorce? You will make it!

4. Creating job security is everything

According to research, 54% of women had to make a drastic career change after their divorce. These changes included switching jobs, starting their own business, re-entering the workforce, and going back to school.

Only 9% of women were able to continue staying at home after the divorce, hinting that many divorcees are in need of cash flow to survive their separation.

Independent women know that job security is everything, so it’s important to secure a job that will last. Divorced mothers may want to find jobs that allow them to work from home, and women with low-paying jobs may want to explore other options if possible.

Starting a side hustle in addition to your day job can be a great way to create job security.

If you’re an artist, a baker, or someone who loves crafts, consider making extra to sell online. There are plenty of options!

5. Learning new skills is essential

One of the best ways to create job security is by learning new skills. If you can make yourself more valuable to the workforce, more doors can open for you!

According to studies, a woman’s standard of living decreases by 27% after a divorce, which means it may take some effort to get back the life you’re used to. Learning new skills can help you get a better job so you can increase your standard of living fast.

Not everyone has the money to go back to school, and if that’s the case, don’t worry, the internet has plenty of free resources. You can take online courses and even earn certificates that can land you in a new career quickly.

Skills aren’t just for the workplace though! You may need to brush up on how to handle fixes around the home. If your partner took care of all the lawn work, household chores, or home improvements, you may need to learn new skills to take over these things too.

YouTube videos and online forums can help you in this department so you can be more independent after the divorce.

Learning how to deal with divorce can be tricky, especially when it comes to finances. If you want to become a self-sufficient, independent woman after divorce, meet with a financial advisor, learn some new skills, and be confident that you can do it, one step at a time!

READ MORE: Finding love as a single mom (because you can and should make time for romance)

This article was first published on YourTango.