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Left with little after split, Colorado woman faces poverty

One Colorado woman feels that she is part of a class that is often overlooked: single adults left with little money after a divorce, leading to a life of poverty or homelessness.

It's more common than you might think for people in her situation to struggle to be able to pay for a place to live. She was granted temporary spousal support after she split with her common law husband of several years, but says it's barely enough to live on.

She used to earn good money working in quality assurance at chemical and pharmaceutical labs. But her husband encouraged her to quit because she wasn't too happy at her job, so she did "the housewife thing" until he abruptly moved out, canceled their lease and took her name off their joint checking account. Suddenly, she says, she was left with nothing.

She has not yet been able to secure employment. She says that she has only had three interviews and that even though she applies for jobs that are below skill level, it's hard to be hired in this economy.

She stays with friends and has moved 11 times since last October, going from couch to couch. At one point she qualified for food stamps, but the spousal support put her in too high an income bracket. While she has sought help at service agencies, many are more geared toward helping people with disabilities, or those who have children, than single adults.

As an assistant sociology professor at the University of Colorado says, the woman is part of a group of formerly middle-class women forced into poverty after a divorce. Most, she says, recover and get back on track after a while.

This woman hopes that is the case as well. In the meantime, she's going to continue applying for jobs and hoping for the best.

Source: Daily Camera, "Bad divorce thrusts Boulder County woman into homelessness," Erica Meltzer, May 26, 2012

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