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Surviving Divorce as a Teacher

Posted on in Divorce

Surviving Divorce as a TeacherTeachers have a lower divorce rate as compared to other professions, but those who do get divorced face unique challenges. As a teacher, your primary concern is usually for your students. Your caregiving nature likely extends to your home life, as a spouse and parent. During your divorce, you may be focusing on your own needs more than you are accustomed to doing. It is important to take care of yourself during your divorce and plan how you will balance your teaching career with your personal needs.

Taking Time Off

Most divorcees use occasional personal days in order to attend meetings or court hearings. Teachers must also be aware of their emotional state and how it may affect their students:

  • You must be able to make it through the school day without emotionally breaking down in front of your students; and
  • Being distracted by your divorce may make you less attentive as a teacher.

Now is the time to use your sick and personal days if you have accumulated them over several years. If you do not have many days available, ask your human resource department about your options if you need additional time off. Your students need a teacher who is able to be fully engaged in their education.

Changing Your Name

Female teachers are put in the awkward position of deciding whether they should keep their married name or switch back to their maiden name. You may not want people to call you by the last name of someone that you are trying to separate yourself from. However, students may ask you uncomfortable questions if you change your last name or name title in the middle of a school year. Younger students, in particular, may be confused by the change and not understand that asking you about it is crossing a personal boundary. You must decide which name you are most comfortable using for the rest of the year.


Retirement benefits that you accrued during your marriage are assets that you must include in the division of property. Public school teachers in Illinois contribute to a pension plan. You can:

  • Divide your pension using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order; or
  • Keep it intact in exchange for giving your spouse other marital properties.

Unfortunately, Illinois teachers must consider the uncertainty about the state funding of their pensions. It is possible that the value of your pension could change if the state passes a pension reform law.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Part of getting through a divorce successfully is knowing when to ask for help. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group has the knowledge and resources to help you through the process. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800. 

Disclaimer: Goostree Law Group uses an outside QDRO consultant to assist in the preparation of QDRO documents. 


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