A New Direction: Changing Careers During Your Divorce

Man sitting at desk looking out of window
Originally published on 20th February 2020 at 5:10 PM

In a poll of British workers from 2019, 64% admitted that finding a new job was a priority for 2020.  For many people, work accounts for a huge amount of their time, so finding the right job is essential both emotionally and financially. If you’re in the process of going through a divorce, changing your work life might be a necessity for financial stability, but it might also represent freedom, or part of rebuilding your life and confidence in this new chapter. With so many decisions to be made during this period, here are some considerations to take on board if you’re contemplating a change of career.

What will make me happy?

Going through a divorce can raise all sorts of questions when it comes to your working life, but it is perfectly valid to ask whether your current career path is making you happy. Unlike previous generations, it is now much more common to embrace multiple careers over the course of your working life and to re-train or change direction as required; in a recent Gallup poll, 60% of millennials were open to new job opportunities. 

If you would like to be happier at work, consider first whether you need to switch jobs or change careers; the former has some advantages as it’s a known field and to some extent you will be on more familiar territory and may find it easier to adjust. However, a completely fresh start may be more appropriate for this new stage of your life, so jot down what professional happiness looks like to you and you can start to assess what exactly needs to change.

Calculating the financial impact

Of course, changing your professional situation can have an impact on the divorce process, as it may change how much financial support you need or are able to give. It may delay things slightly as you wait for the most accurate possible information for completing your financial order. However, being happier and more financially stable is much better for you and your family in the long run, so if it’s something you need to do, it’s worth doing properly at this stage. 

Time and travel

One huge factor in your career choice post-divorce is likely to be how much time it requires. A recent study by YouGov and Lloyds Bank found that British workers spend 492 days of their lives travelling to work. Whether you have a custody arrangement in place and need to get back for the kids, or want to devote more time to hobbies or the dating scene, it’s worth considering how much time your new potential career could require from you.  If your career is likely to call for more travel, a judge will need to be convinced that you can still provide a stable family life and meet any commitments agreed in the divorce. 

For some people, the idea of changing career at the same time as going through a divorce may seem hugely daunting, but it can also be enormously liberating. Approached carefully, it can be a good opportunity to find something that makes you happy professionally, and can boost your confidence and help you to meet new people. It’s always important to weigh up the financial impact a new job or career path will have, as well as the demands it will place on your time. Ideally, ensure you have a support network in place, not only to help with the logistics as you settle into a new role, but also to cheer you on as you make the leap.

About the author

Jane Sandwood is a freelance writer who focuses on advice that helps people navigate their finances effectively.

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