To finish up my final installment of things married women in Alabama should keep in mind as they approach divorce or legal separation, I'm including a few additional points to consider in this time of emotional and financial upheaval. It makes no difference whether you live in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, or Huntsville, the situation remains the same. Divorce is a sad fact for many women and going into it with yours eyes wide open is the best strategy for getting through with the least amount of surprises.
The decisions you make during a divorce proceeding can affect you and your kids for many years to come. The old adage, “Ignorance is Bliss,” is not the phrase you want to stand by in this case. Doing lots of research and finding an experienced divorce and family law attorney to be by your side is the best plan of action for any woman facing marital strife and ultimately, divorce.
As a Birmingham divorce attorney, my clients come first. Because my job is to help them throughout the divorce process, I also try to be there for emotional and moral support. The following are some final points to keep in mind when preparing to follow through with a divorce, or when you're just doing some investigation for the future.
6) Hard as it may be, you must face your worst economic fears. We've all seen the ubiquitous “bag lady” and wondered how she arrived at that station in life. Similarly, it's not surprising that many women experience the fear that they, too, will be left to fend for themselves, homeless on the street.
Suddenly being thrust into the position of being the sole breadwinner for your family can be a frightening prospect. Being primarily accountable for all aspects of your children's lives going forward is a big responsibility, but don't think you're the only person ever to face the unknowns of post-divorce life.
Your income may come up short and the bills in the mail can seem relentless, but be assured that thousands of women every year make to this point and beyond. Just look around. You probably know more than a few divorced ladies who have faced the same challenges and still made a better life for themselves and their kids. Many became strong for the experience through the entire process.
7) Never assume that your so-called ‘permanent' alimony will always be around. It's fairly common for women who have been married for some time and also out of the job market to receive permanent alimony. Especially if your soon-to-former spouse was a good wage earner, you will likely be awarded this by the court.
However, circumstances change. If your ex comes down with a serious illness, loses his job or gets a demotion, he is entitled to seek a reduction (or worse) termination of his monthly obligation to you. A more common situation is that the wife is awarded support for a finite period with the option of extending support in the future. In the worst of cases, the court may decide that you have the abilities and health to pursue gainful employment yourself — if your marriage was relatively short, you may get nothing at all.
The bottom line is you must be prepared to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. They say that God helps those who help themselves and it is those with foresight who look to the future by pursuing further education and learning new skills. By taking the initiative early on, you will make yourself less vulnerable economically if and when that alimony runs out.
8) Finally, have faith in your own abilities and desire to make a better future. Believing in yourself goes a long way toward making good things happen. Don't be so concerned about finding Mr. Right the second time around. If it happens, it happens. But until it does, concentrate on Number One. Taking control of your life as you open this newest chapter will make all the difference.
You may discover skills or talents that you never knew you had. You might find that you have abilities that were dormant during your married life, which could truly open the door to a better future. Have faith and be strong. Write your own success story and remember: Living well and being happy can sometimes be the best revenge.