Left High and Dry: The Shocking Financial Impact of Marriage Abandonment

Marriage abandonment can be a traumatic experience for anyone, but it can be particularly challenging regarding finances. 

Not only are you dealing with the emotional aftermath of a broken relationship, but you are also forced to navigate the complexities of a changed financial landscape. 

In this article, we will explore some key considerations for financial planning when facing marriage abandonment so that you can take steps to secure your future.

Assess Your Financial Situation

The first step in dealing with your finances after marriage abandonment is to assess your financial situation. This involves taking stock of your assets and liabilities and any income or expenses you may have. 

Here are some key areas to consider:

  • Assets: Make a list of all of your assets, including any real estate, personal property, vehicles, home inventory, investments, and savings accounts.
  • Liabilities: List all of your debts, including credit card balances, loans, and mortgages.
  • Income: Determine your income from all sources, including your job, any investments, and any spousal or child support payments you may be receiving.
  • Expenses: List all of your monthly expenses, including housing costs, utilities, food, transportation, insurance, and any other bills or debts you may have.

Once you clearly understand your financial situation, you can begin to develop a plan for moving forward.

Establish a Budget

After assessing your financial situation, the next step is to establish a budget. This involves setting a plan for allocating your income and expenses. This can help you avoid overspending and ensure you have enough money to cover your costs.

Here are some tips for creating a budget:

  • Start with your income: Begin by listing all of your sources of income, including your job, any benefits you may be receiving, any income from investments or rental properties, and any spousal or child support payments you may be receiving.
  • List your expenses: Next, list all of your monthly expenses, including your rent or mortgage payment, utility bills, groceries, transportation costs, and any other recurring expenses. Be sure to include any debt payments you may have, such as credit card balances or car loans. 
  • Categorize your expenses: Group your expenses into categories such as housing, utilities, food, transportation, and entertainment.
  • Set priorities: Determine which expenses are necessary and which are discretionary, and set priorities accordingly.
  • Cut back on non-essential spending: Look for ways to cut back on non-essential spending, such as eating out less or canceling subscriptions.
  • Stick to your budget: Determine how much you can afford to spend on each category, and be sure to set aside money for unexpected expenses or emergencies. It may be helpful to track your spending for a few months to ensure that you are sticking to your budget and making adjustments as necessary. Once you have established a budget, commit to sticking to it.

Protect Your Credit

Protecting your credit is one of the most important things to focus on after marriage abandonment. This can be particularly challenging if you had joint accounts with your former spouse or if they left you with debts that you are now responsible for.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your credit:

  • Close all joint accounts: If you had joint accounts with your former spouse, it is important to close them as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your credit. Contact your creditors and request that the accounts be closed.
  • Remove authorized users: If your former spouse was an authorized user on any of your accounts, remove them to prevent any further damage to your credit.
  • Monitor your credit report: Check your credit report regularly to ensure that there are no errors or fraudulent activities. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each major credit reporting agency.
  • Pay your bills on time: One of the most critical aspects of protecting your credit is paying your bills on time. 

How Can an Attorney Help You With Your Finances if Your Spouse has Abandoned You? 

One of the primary ways an attorney can help you with your finances is by assisting you with the divorce process. If your spouse has abandoned you, you may be eligible for a divorce based on abandonment or desertion grounds. 

An attorney can help you file the necessary paperwork and navigate the legal process to obtain a divorce decree that protects your financial interests, including the division of marital property, spousal support, and child custody and support.

When a spouse abandons their family, they still have a legal obligation to provide financial support. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options for obtaining financial support from your spouse, including filing for spousal support (alimony) and child support.


Spousal support is typically awarded to the lower-earning spouse after a divorce to help them maintain their standard of living. If your spouse has abandoned you and you are struggling financially, you may be entitled to alimony. 

An attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence and present your case to the court to increase your chances of receiving spousal support.

Child Support

Child support is also essential if you have children with your spouse who has abandoned you. Child support is designed to help cover the costs of raising children, including food, clothing, housing, and education. 

An attorney can help you obtain a child support order from the court to ensure your children receive the financial support they need.

In addition to helping you obtain financial support, an attorney can also assist you in modifying or enforcing existing support orders. 

If your spouse is not paying the court-ordered support, an attorney can help you take legal action to enforce the order and obtain the support you and your children are entitled to.


Additionally, an attorney can help you with debt and bankruptcy issues. If your spouse abandoned you and left you with significant debts, you may be struggling to keep up with payments and may be facing bankruptcy. 

An attorney can help you explore your options, such as negotiating with creditors or filing for bankruptcy and work to protect your financial interests.

Additional Financial Consideration If Your Spouse Has Abandoned You

A couple of other financial issues should be considered if you find yourself abandoned by your spouse. 

Pay Off Debt

If you have debt, it’s important to prioritize paying it off as part of your financial planning strategy. Debt can be a significant financial burden and can prevent you from achieving your long-term financial goals. Start by creating a debt repayment plan that works for you.

Two common strategies for paying off debt are the debt snowball method and the debt avalanche method. 

The debt snowball method involves paying off your smallest debts first, while the debt avalanche method involves paying off your debts with the highest interest rates first. Choose the strategy that works best for your financial situation.

As you pay off your debt, make sure to continue making your minimum payments on all of your debts. This will help you avoid late fees and maintain your credit score. Consider consolidating your debt if you have multiple high-interest debts, such as credit card balances. 

Debt consolidation can help you simplify your payments and lower your interest rates.

Build an Emergency Fund

Building an emergency fund is integral to financial planning when dealing with marriage abandonment. An emergency fund is a savings account that you can use to cover unexpected expenses, such as a medical emergency or a car repair. Having an emergency fund can help you avoid going into debt and provide you with peace of mind.

Start by setting a savings goal for your emergency fund. Aim to save at least three to six months’ of living expenses. You can use a high-yield savings account to earn interest on your savings. Many online banks offer high-yield savings accounts with competitive interest rates.

Consider Your Options for Increasing Your Income

If you depended on your spouse’s income, you might need to consider ways to increase your income. This may mean returning to school to acquire new skills, starting a side business, or looking for a higher-paying job. Consider your options carefully and choose a career path that aligns with your long-term financial goals.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

During a time of transition like marriage abandonment, it’s also essential to review your insurance coverage to ensure that you’re adequately protected. This includes health insurance, life insurance, and any other policies that may be relevant to your situation. 

If you were previously covered under your spouse’s insurance, you might need to enroll in a new plan or explore other options for coverage. 

You may also want to consider increasing your life insurance coverage or adding disability insurance to protect your income in case of an unexpected injury or illness.


In conclusion, financial planning after a marriage abandonment can be a challenging and overwhelming process. However, by taking the time to establish a budget and seek the advice of a professional, you can take control of your finances and ensure a more stable and secure future for yourself and your family. 

Remember to be patient and kind to yourself during this challenging time, and don’t hesitate to reach out for support when you need it.

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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