Are you worried about how to prepare for divorce as a stay at home mom?
Maybe you’re worried that you won’t be able to get the best divorce lawyer.
Maybe you’re concerned that you won’t get the kids as much as they need you.
Maybe you’re worried how your life is going to look after divorce when you’re forced to juggle raising the kids, dealing with your ex husband, and working a full time job.
We’re going to cover how to prepare for a divorce as a stay at home mom, child custody, alimony, and everything else you need to know.
How to Prepare for Divorce as a Stay at Home Mom
Life is going to be a lot different after you get a divorce as a stay at home mom, whether you want the divorce or your husband wants the divorce.
This is because you are going to be forced to juggle a lot more than you are now.
And, unfortunately, RIGHT after the divorce, you and your husband probably won’t be working as a team in any manner.
But it’s okay.
You can handle this. You’re strong. You’ve been through worse. Things will work out for the better even if they don’t seem to be right now.
But let’s talk about how to prepare for a divorce as a stay at home mom.
Get the Best Divorce Lawyer You Can
But if you’re getting a divorce while pregnant, things get a lot messier.
If you pick the wrong one, you could end up losing child custody, visitation rights, and alimony battles and get far less than you deserve.
That means that you see your kids less. And let’s be real, they need you. They need their mom.
If your husband is anything like me, let’s be real – he’s just a grown up child.
He can barely take care of himself, so how can he possibly ‘all of a sudden’ be able to take 100% care of himself AND your kids??
It’s impossible. Besides, the kids do need some love from their mom. It’s part of nature. They need the nurturing that only the mother can provide.
So, make sure that they divorce lawyer that you get is the best in the area for you.
Make sure that you’re not just another case number for them, which means that your case is going to get minimal attention and will be lost in the chaos.
You’ll have to pester them for updates. They’ll drag things along and make you come into their office unnecessarily and charge you $300 every time they look at your file.
Is this really what you want? A run of the mill law firm that doesn’t get a hoot about whether or not you get custody?
The next step is to figure out your finances before you go into the divorce process.
Figure Out Your Finances
The cost of divorce can be ridiculous at times. You and your husband both may end up spending tens of thousands of dollars in divorce costs. This is even for an affordable divorce.
This is because the average cost of divorce with kids is $22,000.
And this is for each spouse involved – not just one of you.
Do you have $22,000 sitting around right now that you can throw at a divorce case?
(If you and your spouse are on decent terms, you can have an amicable divorce, which will SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the amount you’re going to pay. But the cheapest route is to fill out your own divorce paperwork. Start with this divorce settlement agreement.)
If you do, I’m jealous (not of the divorce, but the money – you know).
Gather Financial Documents
Okay, but really. The first thing that you need to do is gather up all of your financial documents.
These are things like:
- W2s and tax returns from previous years
- income statements including pay stubs
- insurance policies, bank statements
- details about loans and mortgages
- and investment accounts
This does two things for you.
First, it allows your attorney to see what your financial quality of life is during the marriage.
It’s your attorney’s job to make sure that you have the same quality of life after getting divorced as a stay at home mom.
These documents will help them fight for you to make sure that you have enough money to maintain your current lifestyle – for you and the kiddos.
This includes getting your fair share of the assets and money during the property settlement.
Secondly, it allows you to see what your finances actually look like over the past two years.
What kind of money do you have access to (bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, business accounts, etc.)?
And what kind of money do you spend each month???
Don’t make me say the B word.
That’s right, you have to create a budget.
As dreaded as this is, it’s going to keep you on track financially so that you can crush it as a newly single lady.
Figuring Out Your Budget
Figure out how much you earn, what your fixed costs are, and what you spend in total.
How much you earn is your net income after taxes. This can be from side hustles, a W2 job, rental income, etc.
Your fixed costs are things like rent, car payments, or student loans – things that you can’t just get rid of to cut expenses.
Your total expenses will include your fixed costs and your un-fixed costs. (Fancy terminology, eh?)
Un-fixed costs are things like groceries, Netflix, phone bills, utilities, clothes, random Amazon orders. You get the idea.
“But Shawn, I can’t cut out my groceries.”
I know, love. So, what we recommend is that instead of shopping at Whole Foods, head on over to Wal Mart.
Also, be more intentional about your groceries. Meaning, you should buy foods that you can cook in bulk.
Remember, none of this is meant to be permanent. (While I actually DO recommend that it’s permanent, I know most of you won’t be too inclined to living this lifestyle permanently.)
So, just do it until you get back up on your feet again and then treat yo’self to Whole Foods gradually over time.
Get to Work on Your Credit
Since you’re moving out on your own, you may need to work on boosting your credit score.
This is especially true if you haven’t built up credit jointly and you haven’t been putting any loan, car payments, or the mortgage in your name along with your spouse’s name.
You will need good credit to rent an apartment or house, buy a car, get more credit cards, etc.
And if you’re getting back into the work force, some employers will check your credit as a qualification for hiring you.
So, the first thing you should do is try to pay off all of your small debts first.
These are probably going to be things like your Kohl’s card and some credit cards.
Paying these off first allows you to free up some monthly expenses so that you have more money.
Once you pay these guys off, move on up to your debt with the next smallest balance.
These are usually going to be car loans, student loans, or something of the sort.
If you can pay these items off and eliminate $200-$600 per month in revolving bills, then you are going to be in a great spot financially when you go to apply for an apartment or a mortgage.
Another way to quickly boost your credit score is to lower your credit utilization.
For an easy example, if you have $1,000 available to spend on your credit card and you have a $500 balance, then you are using 50% of your available credit.
But if you ask your credit card provider to increase your credit limit, you can lower your credit utilization.
For example, if you increased your credit limit to $5,000 and you had a $5000 balance, then you would now have a 10% credit utilization.
Lowering your utilization boosts your credit score and is a major ranking factor.
To increase your credit limit, call your provider and ask for an increase in your limit.
They will run a hard inquiry on you to make sure you qualify, which will temporarily lower your credit score.
But if you are good with your finances and pay off your credit card balance every month, then your credit score will increase fairly easily.
Start Looking for a Job
Unless you’re just getting a boat load of alimony, you’re going to need to find a job so that you can afford your living expenses.
First of all – you may come up against people who will discredit you for being out of the workforce for years.
It’s important that you believe in yourself and don’t look at this as a negative reflection on yourself.
You did what’s best for your family and that’s what matters.
Being out of the work force for 3 years doesn’t mean you’re NOT the most qualified candidate for the job.
Frankly, staying at home and essentially babysitting makes you more qualified for the corporate world haha.
Think of some things that you have done over the past few years that would allow you to be more competitive.
Maybe you had to coordinate community outings. Maybe you managed finances for your family. Maybe you marketed and sold things on Etsy.
Whatever you did, you DID learn skills.
After you have gotten over this mental hurdle, it’s time to start looking.
Go to ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, or Indeed and start searching.
My advice is what I do when I would look for new jobs. Apply to EVERYTHING that’s relevant to your skills.
This means don’t pre-judge the company. Heck, I’d say don’t even worry about reading the description and qualifications.
If it’s in your field, then submit your info. The worst that can happen is that they will just ignore your submission.
For example, I am a mechanical engineer (my wife owns the Hive Law).
I would apply to every single job posting that I could use my engineering degree for.
This way, I cast the widest net possible. Then, I interview with multiple companies.
And I interview with the companies I’m least interested in first so that I can practice interviewing and warm up for the big shot job I want.
And I have the added benefit of having multiple offers, which strengthens my negotiation power for salary and vacation time.
Over to You
If you’re figuring out how to prepare for divorce stay as a at home mom, I hope this article points you in the right direction.
My goal was to provide the basics for you.
You can get a FREE, no-obligation consultation just to get an idea of where you stand.
EVEN if you’re a stay at home mom scared to divorce. We can walk you through the whole process and brainstorm with you.