Preparing for divorce involves more than filing a complaint with the court, or even just hiring an attorney. There are legal, emotional, parental, and financial aspects to attend to when deciding to end your marriage.
For stay-at-home parents, divorce presents unique financial issues, especially if you are completely financially dependent on your spouse.
How to Prepare for Divorce for Stay-at-Home Moms
As a stay-at-home mom facing the prospect of divorce, there are a few key aspects of your life you need to prepare, including:
- Emotional preparation – When you recognize that your marriage is over, you’ll likely go through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – as you feel the loss of a large part of your life. If you have children, especially younger kids, you’ll also need to begin preparing them for the divorce, including making sure they understand that the divorce is not their fault or either of their parents’ faults alone, and that they will still be loved by both of their parents.
- Legal preparation – You will need to determine whether you and your spouse will amicably split or whether you may be facing a contentious divorce. Even if you and your spouse are reaching mutual agreement on the issues in your divorce, you may still want to have legal representation looking out for your interests.
- Financial preparation – Perhaps the biggest concern for a stay-at-home parent facing divorce is money. Do you have your own sources of income? Will you need financial support from your spouse during the divorce? Do you have family members you can turn to for financial support? Where will you live after the divorce? How will you take care of your children’s living expenses? You will need to begin figuring out how to begin disentangling your financial situation from that of your spouse.
How to Prepare Financially for a Divorce
Many stay-at-home moms experience great anxiety over money during divorce, especially when they fully depend on their spouse’s income. As a stay-at-home parent entering divorce, steps you can take to financially prepare yourself for the process include:
- Opening your own bank account – If you have joint accounts with your spouse, they can make it incredibly difficult for you to access money once you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage. If you don’t have your own credit card, you should open an account and begin making small purchases and paying off the card in full each month to begin building up your credit history.
- Review your credit report – Unfortunately, some spouses in divorce will max out joint credit cards or will even begin opening new credit lines in their other spouse’s name. Be sure to review your credit report and dispute any inaccuracies or transactions you do not recognize.
- Collect financial documents – Be sure you have documents such as your tax returns for the last three years, your paystubs, bank account statements, credit card statements, investment and retirement account statements, life insurance or annuity policies, mortgages or other loans, Social Security estimates, and if you and/or your spouse own a business, profit and loss statements for the current year and prior three years.
- Get secure mail delivery – If you are still living with your spouse or still living in the marital home, it is advisable to obtain a post office box where you can send mail that you don’t want your spouse to have access to. Similarly, you should have an email address that your spouse does not have access to, secured by a password that your spouse will not easily guess.
- Create a budget – You need to be realistic about your income during the divorce process and the expenses that you will need. Avoid maintaining a lifestyle that you cannot afford.
Alimony for Stay-at-Home Moms in Divorce
During the divorce process, you may be entitled to receive spousal support from your spouse. This spousal support, sometimes called alimony pendente lite, is ordered by the court.
This temporary alimony lasts only for the duration of the divorce proceedings. If alimony is required once the divorce is finalized, the court will issue a separate alimony order as part of the divorce decree.
Child Custody and Support for Divorced Stay-at-Home Moms
Similarly, the court can issue a temporary order for child custody arrangements and child support. Alternatively, you and your spouse may come to an arrangement on child custody without the intervention of the court.
Talk to a Divorce Lawyer at Leigh Daniel Family Law
If you are a stay-at-home mom or dad considering divorce or if you are already in the middle of divorce proceedings, you need experienced legal representation on your side to protect your rights and interests.
Schedule a case consultation with Alabama family lawyer Leigh Daniel to discuss the details of your situation and learn more about how a Huntsville divorce attorney can help you navigate the process of divorce.