Back to Work, Post-Divorce

By Kimberly Darling.

Many married parents decide that one spouse – usually, but not always, the mother – will remove themselves from the workforce to care for their kids full time.  Sometimes, the plan is for the stay-at-home parent to return (eventually) to the workforce. Other times, there are no concrete return-to-work plans.  Whatever the couple’s original intentions, however, if separation and/or divorce happens while one parent is still at home, this will likely result in an earlier-than-intended return to the workforce due to financial necessity.

For someone who has been out of the workforce for any significant amount of time, the prospect of going back to paid work (staying at home with young kids is no vacation!) can be daunting.  With our rapidly evolving economy and technology, it is entirely possible that the job you used to do doesn’t even exist anymore.

Luckily, there are many resources available to people looking to re-enter the work force.  Some, like the programs offered by Kelowna Community Resources, are sponsored by the government and cost little to nothing.  You can also hire a career coach to help you with things like identifying the types of positions that fit your skills and interests.

For many working single parents, one of the biggest challenges is finding a position that accommodates your parental responsibilities, such as managing daycare, picking up or dropping off your child at school, and caring for a sick child.  Luckily, more and more employers offer flexibility in the scheduling of work to attract and retain the best employees.  Recently, the courts have also affirmed that human rights laws protect employees who have competing work and family obligations from discrimination on the job. In other words, the law recognizes that family responsibilities are important and need to be accommodated by employers.

In the end, while an unexpected return to work may seem overwhelming, remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources and legal protections available to help ease your transition.

For a slightly different perspective on this issue, read Connect Family Law lawyer Leisha Murphy’s blog post here.

Have questions about returning to work? Contact us!

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