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Why Career Women are More Likely to Divorce: Financial Advice Every Woman Considering Divorce Needs to Hear

5 min. readbyFreelance WriteronJanuary 07, 2022
You’ve worked hard to get to where you are. You also have a lot on your plate, before you even add the D-word. Divorce happens. When it does, the question is—what are you going to do about it?

When I set my sights on the CEO job, I knew it would come with more responsibility. What I didn’t realize is that it would also come with some serious marital problems.

I’m officially a statistic, whether I like it or not.

You know, those statistics that say half of all marriages end in divorce (they’re wrong, by the way—the divorce rate in Canada is more like 39%) or those that claim women who’ve been promoted are 45% more likely to get a divorce, compared to men of equal standing or women who haven’t been promoted.

Heck, look at Bill and Melinda Gates. Melinda French Gates, a renowned philanthropist and the fifth most powerful woman in the world, divorcing that Bill guy after 27 years. Or Kim Kardashian, a sex-tape and reality TV star turned billionaire businesswoman, who should be pretty well-versed in how to handle divorce after her third go-round with Kanye West.

I don’t know what caused these, or any other couples, to pull the plug, but what I do know is that researchers say changes in the way a couple’s economic and social roles are divided can cause stress and friction. Here’s the kicker—that stress and friction tends to happen more when the woman is promoted, because it creates a mismatch of expectations (and because, apparently, we still live in the 1950s).

I’m not going to argue with research or obsess over why my relationship fell apart after my career took off. These things happen. Here's a few considerations to protect yourself before you go through the divorce process in Canada.

First things first

In Canada, a couple can’t divorce right away even if both parties are on board. There’s usually a one-year separation period before a judge will grant a divorce, unless the grounds for divorce are adultery or cruelty.

Your separation period begins the day you and your spouse are ‘living separate and apart.’

Some work out a separation agreement, which is a contract that covers things like living arrangements, how you’ll divide debts and properties, your custody schedule (if applicable), and so on.

You don’t need a separation agreement to separate, but you do need one to settle all those fun legal issues. If you can’t agree on your agreement, then the court will do it for you.

Get your sh*t together

You typically see the divorce help for women articles talking about how to repair emotionally. But what I want to stress is getting your sh*t together financially.

Gather your tax returns, bank and investment statements, loan details. Pull out your pension paperwork. You’re going to need all your financial information (shared and individual) before you can legally move forward.

Assess your marital assets and liabilities

Yes, that may include your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s purchases on your joint line of credit for his fully equipped game room, even if they were made while he was living in the basement. If it happened before you legally separated, those purchases could be a marital liability.

As for protecting finances before divorce, your best bet is to get that separation date established ASAP because his liabilities aren’t your liabilities after you separate.

Cancel the joint accounts

You don’t want to share a bank account or a credit card with your ex (trust me). Even the most amicable relationships can turn nasty after a separation.

Get your own bank account and credit cards—and don’t forget to update your direct deposits. Separating your finances before divorce will serve you both well and protect your money in the divorce.

While you’re at it, get a credit report so you can monitor financial activity you didn’t approve.

Prep financially

The cost of divorce in Canada is anywhere from $600 to $15,000, depending on how easily the parties can settle their issues.

Of course, every situation is different. A judge could order one person to pay costs to the other or to pay out a shared line of credit. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how finances are split in divorce. In family law, there could be child support and child custody to consider.

You’ll likely have to do some arranging and rearranging of your finances to cover your expenses and have a plan to regain your financial footing when all is said and done.

Update your will and life insurance

You probably don’t want to leave all your assets to your ex at this point, so don’t put off updating your will.

The same goes for your life insurance policy and any beneficiaries you may have chosen during your marriage.

Now’s the time for you to choose what’s important to you and who you want to leave it to.

Hire the right professionals

You have a lot on your plate, before you even add the D-word.

This is where you hand it over to the professionals. Let your lawyer and financial advisor do their jobs in protecting your interests, so you can focus on your job and your life post-separation.

A new study shows that more than 95% of women don’t use a financial advisor when going through a divorce, despite having financial goals they want to achieve—and that 61% of women wish they would have used one.

The earlier you reach out to a lawyer and a financial advisor, the better. Vexxit will match you with both for free, plus you can download a free guide that outlines 10 questions to ask before hiring a lawyer.

Dealing with a separation and divorce is difficult any way you look at it, but having the right pros in your corner can make all the difference.

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What should you know before hiring a lawyer? The more you know before you jump in, the less stress, money and time will be wasted down the line. Download ten questions that you should ask your potential lawyer, to make sure they are the right fit to earn your business.

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