Divorce is a scary and uncertain process for everyone, but stay-at-home moms often find it even more daunting. Those who are used to depending on their spouse for all their basic needs and financial support can feel lost when they see the marriage coming to an end. Financial concerns and worries about childcare and rejoining the workforce can make an already stressful situation much worse. Before you throw up your hands in frustration, we’ve put together a list of things that you need to do first if you’re a stay-at-home mom facing a divorce.
1. Put Money Away in Advance. Don’t wait until you are ready to walk out the door before you start planning for your divorce. When you see that the marriage is starting to get shaky, it’s time to begin putting away money to help pay for an attorney and other expenses that will rise up. You can do this by requesting extra cash at the grocery store or rounding up on expenses to put any spare money you get into a fund to help cover the expenses.
2. Have Your Paperwork Handy. The divorce process is a legal proceeding where paperwork and documentation are priceless. When you are planning to call it quits on your marriage, make sure that you have a good grasp on your family’s finances through past tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, insurance policies, and investment documents. You should also present bills and information about mortgages and loans. If you do not know or have access to these, ask to be a part of the budgeting process or to take on tasks that would give you access to these documents. By getting a good grasp on your financial situation, an attorney can work to best present it to the court in a way that sets you up for alimony and child support.
3. Set up a New Life Budget. As a divorced woman, your income is going to be greatly reduced. You need to realistically look at your monthly bills and choose what you can do to cut back on expenses. Think sensibly as you cut down on luxuries such as spa trips, clothes shopping, and even things like eating out and cable television. You need to look into and know exactly how much you will need each month to cover bills and then discover a way to make it possible to pay for them.
4. Be Willing to Move. While everyone wants to live in the family home, you need to be prepared to move. If your home is expensive, then getting it in the settlement may leave you with little else and overwhelmed with the expenses of taxes, insurance, and utilities. Consider downsizing to a smaller home that will be more affordable.
5. Hire a Good Lawyer. The main thing that determines the outcome of a divorce is each party’s attorney. Your number one goal should be to hire a lawyer who understands your unique situation as a stay-at-home mom and will work to help you maintain your important role as a mother while ensuring you get enough money to live comfortably following the divorce. Make sure your lawyer listens to you and communicates often so that you are supported and fully in the know about your divorce process. A good attorney will ensure honest communication and fight for the things that matter most to you in your divorce – not just alimony or child custody.
Here at our firm, we understand the unique situation that a divorce – especially during a pandemic – puts you in. If you work with us, we will help you to understand your financial situation and what you can expect to get in a divorce, then lead you through the process with great communication, support, and compassion. Contact us today and ensure that your new life is going to be stress-free and financially stable.