Butler Giraudo & Meister
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When the breadwinner leaves, homemakers must cut expenses

Sometimes divorce comes unexpectedly for homemakers in Illinois. One minute, a couple is roaming the world hand-in-hand, and the next, the breadwinner announces that they are leaving for a younger or wealthier partner. When this happens, resentment and already bad spending habits can cause many homemakers to continue living the lavish lifestyle that they did before. However, failure to cut expenses could create problems in the long run.

One woman shared her story in CNBC of her transition from being a part of the wealthy 1% as a married woman to becoming the discarded wife. One of her greatest regrets was not reducing her spending sooner, even after her husband told her he would not continue to support the lavish lifestyle she had grown accustomed to. Attorneys also warned her that she would not get the financial support she had in mind, even though she had set aside her career ambitions to follow her husband around the world.

Chief among the big expenses she kept was the 5000-square-foot house. Over time, she learned the importance of budgeting, letting go of luxury items and downsizing. Now she considers herself to be happier and healthier. This is a tough lesson that many women, and sometimes men, are surprised to need to learn when they expect spousal support after a divorce. This is especially the case when they are the slighted party.

Forbes reminds homemakers that spousal support depends on state law, which considers five factors:

  •          Overall health and the age of both spouses
  •          Lifestyle enjoyed during marriage
  •          Needs of the recipient spouse
  •          Payor spouse's ability to pay
  •          Length of the marriage

The main purpose of spousal support is to limit the negative financial impacts a non-earning or lower-earning spouse may face after divorce. This is especially important when children are involved, because the homemaker usually has full or primary custody of the children. While child support may be in place for this, spousal support helps to ensure the homemaker has no need to tap into money meant for the children to cover other household expenses.

Homemakers also need to keep in mind that more recently, spousal support has an end date. So, even if they do receive large financial payments, this may not last forever. Spousal support may also end early if they remarry or the payor dies. These are just some of the financial considerations that homemakers must plan for when a breadwinner announces their decision to divorce.

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