Unfortunately, divorce is a part of life as we know it. According to the National Vital Statistics System, over 41% of marriages in 2010 ended in divorce. The emotional and financial toll on couples is overwhelming. It would appear, however, that the wife bears the brunt of the economical hardship.
During the first year after dissolving the marriage, almost half of the women report a 27% decrease in their standard of living. Men, on the other hand, have a 10% increase. The divide is even more pronounced if the wife is a homemaker, with few– if any– marketable skills.
In many cases, a woman’s credit can suffer due to non-payment of obligations such as mortgage and car payments. Usually, both parties are jointly and separately liable for such debts.
The situation often seems hopeless, even more so if there are children involved. She is now responsible for providing food and shelter for her family on what little income she might receive in the form of child-support or alimony. Many women are forced to seek aid from friends or family, which only deepens desperation.
Thankfully, there are many programs available today that can improve circumstances; some are created expressly to render financial aid to divorced women:
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development can offer assistance in the form of rent subsidies or rent reduction.
- Single mothers can often receive food stamps through the Department of Children and Human Services.
- Job centers are a great resource for career counseling and information on jobs in your area.
- Many community colleges offer tuition-free transition classes. They help you identify skills you may be unaware of and suggest tips for acquiring financial aid, such as grants and scholarships.
- Several different grants are available through the government, with the Federal Pell Grant being among the most well known. Grants differ from student loans in that they do not require re-payment.
- Scholarships are usually awarded on either academic or athletic merit, but there are some intended primarily for women. One of the most notable of these is the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship. It is awarded to low-income women, ages 35 an older.
It is important to remember that certain courses qualify a student for more aid than others. Some institutions offer extra incentives to persuade women to study in the fields of science, math and engineering, which are traditionally male fields.
Although achieving these goals takes much effort, the end result makes it more than worthwhile.