How Are Finances Impacted During a Divorce?

Published On: December 21, 2023|Categories: Personal Life|
Marriage relationship misunderstanding problem

Going through a divorce is unpleasant and presents challenges to the entire family – father, mother and children. There is likely extreme tension in the home, and the reality of a family about to be split up is emotionally burdensome for all. 

In addition, so many financial implications and struggles that coincide with a divorce. Financially surviving a divorce, especially if the divorce was not something you saw coming, is one of the biggest difficulties women and men will face.

What are average divorce costs?

One source says that when a couple divorces, each spouse will need to see a 30 percent increase in income to maintain their same standard of living. This is because one’s cost of living dramatically increases – when two people are splitting mortgage/rent payments in addition to utilities, water, wifi and other services, the cost is cheaper. But when one person takes on all these payments alone, the cost of living is steep.

Other costs to consider would be childcare. If both parents suddenly need to seek out employment opportunities, childcare most likely becomes a significant financial obligation – and this is no minimal expense. Depending on the age of the child and the state in which you live, childcare costs can range from about $5,000 to $25,000 a year.

Additionally, if divorce cannot be peacefully negotiated between two spouses and the divorce case is taken to court, the fees can become overwhelming – many people end up paying more for the divorce lawyer than what the assets they’re fighting over are worth. Court fees can add up quickly and the average cost for a divorce lawyer is over $10,000.

Looking at these numbers, it becomes pretty obvious how divorce is not just emotionally and mentally devastating, it is likely to be financially overwhelming as well.    

The financial impact of divorce on women

Statistically, women end up struggling the most financially from a divorce as it is most often the husband who brings in the majority of income. And if custody of children goes to the wife, she also becomes financially responsible for them, depending on how much money is allocated to child support. 

Other financial implications women face when divorcing include: 

Divorces generally present more challenges for the woman than the man, especially if the husband was the spouse who was bringing in the greatest income. 

The Financial impact of divorce on men

Men involved in divorce tend to suffer at the beginning but generally are not as high risk for dropping into poverty as women are. 

The financial implications of divorce for men include:

  • A 10-40 percent decrease in standard of living 
  • If a man provides less than 80 percent of a family’s income before the divorce, he will suffer significant losses, but men who provide more than 80 percent of a family’s income tend to not struggle financially after the first few months 
  • Men who are required to provide child support payments have the funds removed immediately from their paycheck by the state, which can significantly decrease the amount of money they receive

So while women tend to struggle more, men are not immune to the financial hardships of divorce. 

How to financially prepare for a divorce

“Finances” is a broad term when it comes to the consequences of divorce. It encapsulates income, of course, but also other factors like mortgage, credit card debt and insurance. Protecting yourself financially in a divorce means understanding how these areas will be affected and developing a plan to keep yourself afloat. 


If you are under your spouse’s insurance when divorce occurs, you may find yourself needing to either enroll in insurance benefits under your job, or you may be without insurance for some time. Insurance can be quite expensive, which may be an unexpectedly high monthly cost. 


When divorcing, the two of you likely have some combined debt, such as that from credit cards. Typically, debt will be split between the couple and each will be responsible for their assigned portions. Depending on how much debt the couple has accumulated, this could become a heavy financial burden. 

Monthly budget 

Both spouses will feel a decrease in monthly budget as a (possibly) two-income household becomes a one-income household. If one spouse makes the majority of the household’s income, they may see an increase in available funds because this income is not being split amongst family needs. 

However, the spouse who relied primarily on the other’s income will notice a marked decline in monthly income, especially if they are employed in a field with a lower salary. 

Protecting yourself financially during divorce

If you need additional help navigating the convoluted aspect of finances during a divorce, Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP is here to help. Contact us anytime by calling (800) 543-5080 to learn more.

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