Divorce, a difficult experience in any circumstance, has especially challenging hurdles for a stay-at-home parent. Not only do they risk losing their current lifestyle, but they often lack the resources, such as career, credit, and back-up savings, to rebuild what they have lost. If your role in the marriage was to care for the children and home, you should take a moment to read these tips for stay-at-home parents facing divorce.
- Have a plan: Having a plan eases the changes that you will experience in the coming year, and it keeps you focused on the steps you need to take. It also gives you a sense of much-needed confidence.
- Join a support group: Quite often in a divorce, more than you and your spouse separate. Family and friends often “choose sides” if for no other reason than they do not know how to handle having a relationship with both you and your ex spouse. Having others to talk to will ease the isolation that you may feel.
- Understand your parental rights: Unfortunately, children often become leverage during a divorce. Don’t let this happen to your children. Protect them by staying rational and knowing your rights. You will want to know the laws in your state regarding custody, visitation, and child support and what to do if your spouse breaks those laws.
- Evaluate financial records: Obtain separate copies of your financial records and review them with a financial planner. This includes bank statements, vehicle loans and titles, mortgage information, credit statements, retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, tax returns, and monthly bills. Once you have done this, file them in a safe place.
- Consider career options: Many stay-at-home parents assume they will get alimony. However, some discover that either they didn’t get it or that what they did get wasn’t enough to maintain their pre-divorce lifestyle. Start thinking about your career options. If you worked before the marriage or have a degree, rejoin the workforce. If you have limited career options, consider going to school to learn a trade.
- Build your credit: Many stay-at-home parents find after the divorce that they have little or no credit even though as a couple they had great credit. This occurs because as an individual whose income was dependent on another person, lenders want to list you as the co-signer on loans and credit cards. Eventually, however, you will want that credit so that you can buy a car, get a job, or rent an apartment.
- Breath: Your life will take on major changes. To cope better and make the process go smoother, prepare and stay calm.
To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us at the Law Offices of Ronald M. Zakarin, P.A. Thanks.