Homelessness May Be An Overlooked Side-Effect Of Divorce

After a divorce, couples are often able to fall back on their families for support; however, there are many families who are not able to seek or offer help. They may have had a tumultuous separation, or they may not get along with the people who raised them. Regardless of the reason, homelessness may become a reality for those that separate without a good support network.

Many have been thinking about this issue in Midwestern cities with larger homeless populations, like Grand Rapids and Detroit. While a recent story from central Indiana paints an interesting picture, it is important to pay attention to one’s financial security during and after a divorce.

Homeless in Delphi

Delphi, Indiana is about three hours south of Kalamazoo. It is there that homeless man Timothy B. Watt was raising donations for the local homeless populations. Part of the reason he made his way into local headlines was based on his ambitions. Watt plans to raise donations in all 92 counties of Indiana over the next year.

Watt was not always homeless. When he was younger, he was in the Marines and was married with four kids. After serving in the military, he lost his job and spiraled into depression. This ultimately led to his divorce and eventual homelessness.

It seems that Watt does not want people to see him as just a homeless man, but as something more. He wants to remove the stigma placed upon those living on the streets. Through this, he may be able to show people that he came from somewhere, started a family, and has merely fallen on hard times.

Homeless Children in Michigan

Unlike Watt, Jessica Romero of Ypsilanti did not have a say in her parents’ divorce. She became homeless after deciding to live apart from her mother. Her father had been financially supporting the family. After her parents’ separation, Romero said she did not approve of the people with whom her mother associated. Romero has moved several times since she was 14, first to Detroit, then to Grand Rapids, eventually making her way to Fort Worth, Tex.

She was able to find refuge through a Michigan-based homeless organization. This organization encouraged her to lead a safe, stationary life. She has now earned her GED and is paying her way through Washtenaw Community College.

Getting Support

What Watt and Romero’s stories have in common is that both situations arose after a divorce. Although marital separation did not directly cause their homelessness, it likely severed their connections to family and friends. Connections like this can become crucial during the stressful period after a divorce.

Strategy Surrounding Separation

While a support network is important, there are other strategies for successfully transitioning out of a marriage. The U.S. News and World Report recommends investigating one’s different insurance options and researching your child support and even alimony options. The same article quotes a financial analyst who suggests looking for a job right away. The analyst, Allen Gibson, says that those who wait until their divorce is finalized to seek employment could find themselves held back from new career opportunities.

No matter one’s circumstances, it is important to discuss financial security with a divorce attorney. Without a plan on how to lead one’s life after separating, the loss of one’s support network could be detrimental. While Watt and Romero show how to remain resilient, they also show us the true devastation that same face after divorce.

LaPonsie, M. (2016, Sept. 29). 10 Ways To Prevent A Divorce From Ruining Your Finances. U.S. News And World Report. Retrieved on Oct. 5, 2016, from http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-09-29/10-ways-to-prevent-a-divorce-from-ruining-your-finances

Sullivan, K. (2016, Sept. 20). Putting A Face To Homelessness In Small Town Indiana. WLFI 18. Retrieved on Oct. 5, 2016, from http://wlfi.com/2016/09/20/putting-a-face-to-homelessness-in-small-town-indiana/

Lewis, S.D. (2016, Oct. 4). Educators Seek Ideas To Help Homeless Students Graduate. The Detroit News. Retrieved on Oct. 5, 2016, from http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2016/10/04/homeless-students-dropout-convention/91549072/