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How stay-at-home moms can prepare for divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Divorce |

Stay-at-home mothers give up a great deal for their families. Careers are one major sacrifice they make. By the time they return to the workforce, any degrees, experience or certifications they earned may no longer be relevant.

They also take the risk of not having their own earned money in many cases. All of this puts them at a disadvantage in a divorce, where they may not have the savings or earning potential of their spouses and may not even be able to afford counsel. However, stay-at-home mothers facing divorce can still take steps to prepare themselves.

Gather financial documents

One of the first steps that stay-at-home moms should take when preparing for divorce is to gather all relevant financial documents. This includes bank statements, tax returns, investment accounts and any other documents that provide information about the family’s finances. Having these documents on hand will give them a clear picture of their financial situation so they can make informed decisions during the divorce process.

Seek financial independence

This may involve updating skills or education, seeking part-time work or exploring other ways to generate income. Stay-at-home mothers need to be able to stand apart from their spouses, for their self-esteem as well as their finances. California also mandates that both parents have a responsibility to support their children, and courts generally will not award lifelong spousal support. Depending on circumstances such as what is in the best interests of the children, the length of the marriage and the mother’s earning capacity, a judge may or may not award support for a set period with the expectation that the stay-at-home parent uses it to become “self-sustaining.” If the mother has disabled children who need extra care, the court will view her case differently than if she has teenage children and a relevant degree.

Create a new budget

Stay-at-home mothers need to establish a budget separate from the household one. They need to know what they can afford in their new situation and allocate funds accordingly.

Women become stay-at-home mothers for numerous reasons from unaffordable childcare to believing children need them at home. Regardless of the reason, they often find themselves at a financial loss in the wake of a divorce. Even when a court awards financial support, there is often the condition that the mother needs to use it to become self-supporting. By remaining aware of their financial situation and beginning to work or accrue skills necessary to get a good job, stay-at-home mothers can help ease life during and after divorce.


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