If you’re experiencing a Stay At Home Mom divorce, there are all kinds of additional challenges to surviving that ordeal. Divorce is usually heartbreaking and chaotic, but for a Stay At Home Mom, divorce is often much more complicated and difficult. Stay At Home Moms have often given up careers and work experience to focus on their home and family.
I didn’t have a “Plan B” if our marriage didn’t work out. It just didn’t enter my calculations at all. I didn’t believe in divorce, and I thought we would always be able to weather the storms. And who gets divorced after 30+ years? Well, matter of fact, there are more midlife Stay At Home Moms getting divorced than ever!
We got married while we were still in college. I worked until our first child was born. After two more were born within four years, my wasband (he was my husband but now he’s not!) and I decided together that it would be best for our family for me to stay home and hold down that busy front, so that he could focus on his studies, professional training, the military etc. I loved having the chance to be a Stay-At-Home Mom, and divorce never entered my mind.
When we begin an unexpected journey as a Stay At Home Mom getting divorced, we usually panic about how we’re going to survive! If we had been working full time or even part time, we could see our way forward more easily.
Our wasbands, with our help, are able to focus totally on their work and being successful. I was successful, too, at what I was doing, but my successes didn’t translate into a way to support myself or anyone else financially. I started googling “How a Stay At Home Mom survives divorce.”
After divorce, our wasband’s life doesn’t really change all that much. He still goes to work as usual every day. For Stay At Home Moms getting divorced, life gets incredibly more complicated. Since we have mostly been caring for the kids, after divorce we still have most of those responsibilities, even though we may suddenly be working long hours, too.
Sadly, some ex-husbands disappear completely and never contribute to supporting their ex wife and children at all. In our Midlife Divorce Recovery work, I’ve heard horrendous Stay At Home Mom divorce stories. Most of the women had not been in the workplace for a decade or more.
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As much as you want to work things out, if you have any inclination that your husband is having an affair or if he makes comments about needing some “space to figure himself out” or finding himself,” or whatever, start making copies of important documents. Insurance. Investments. Bank documents. Credit Card accounts.
If you discover your husband has a girlfriend, document unusual spending on jewelry, trips, hotels, flowers etc. It’s a miserable job, but start copying receipts or unusual credit card expenses.
Even if you want to save your marriage, doing this detective work can pay big financial dividends. But let me warn you, speaking from experience, every single discovery is like a knife to your heart. As hard as it is to accept, knowing the truth is better than staying in the shadows, especially financially. Just have the Kleenex box handy.
Many of us stay in that delusional world of thinking we can fix it for too long. Once a husband goes down what they consider the “freedom” road, especially when another woman is travelling with him, it’s very hard for him to leave that path. Men often say they are tired of being financially responsible for everyone, and the next thing we know our husband is divorcing a Stay At Home Mom…us!
Start gathering evidence and finding divorce tips for Stay At Home Moms. Google “How to divorce when you’re a Stay at Home Mom,” or “Divorce Resources for Stay At Home Moms.”
Meet With An Attorney
If you are a Stay At Home Mom, see an attorney as soon as you know that your husband is thinking about divorce. Every state is different, but make sure you have a qualified attorney who is looking out for your best interest. Get referrals. Do interviews. Go with the one who will be fair, but will make sure you get what you deserve by law.
Every state is different, but especially as a Stay At Home Mom, you must protect yourself and your children. There is a company that specializes in “helping men keep their most important assets.” This particular company, reminds men in their radio ads, that “divorcing when you have less money is smarter than divorcing when you have a lot.” So that means that before you even know anything is wrong, he may be doing things with the finances to make your alimony less.
Reach Out To Friends For Support
Sometimes Stay At Home Moms have to make a conscious effort to have friends. Instead of having work friends or business friends, we have to consciously foster and maintain friendships. More and more women are working these days and friendship time can be rare and precious. So sometimes a Stay At Home Mom’s friend pool is smaller than we would like.
One of the best things you can do is find a group of other women who are on the divorce recovery road and connect and share with them. They get you. They don’t get tired of listening. You can share tips and tools of recovery. Our MasterPlan MDRcommunity is a perfect place to connect with other women in a private, protected online forum where no one even knows your real name.
Keep Stuff Elsewhere
If you’re a Stay At Home Mom getting divorced, think about putting copies of your important files and documents in a safe place like with a trusted family member or friend. Do the same for things that are yours that you want to make sure don’t “disappear” in the divorce chaos.
How To Afford Divorce
If you realize that a divorce might be in your future, you wonder, “How can a Stay At Home Mom afford a divorce?” You ask yourself, “How does a Stay At Home Mom prepare for divorce?” Or you worry about how Stay At Home Mom divorce alimony is figured out and if it will be enough.
Especially if your husband wanted you to give up your career path and care for the kids while he worked, you’re terrified you’ll never be able to survive if you don’t have a way to support yourself financially!
Understand Finances & Budget
It’s never too late, but If you are a Stay At Home Mom who is facing divorce, it will be much more difficult if you’re in the dark about your family money situation. Find out everything you can about the finances and the budget. Figure out how much in potential earnings you gave up to be a Stay At Home Mom. Knowledge is power!
Create A Cash Reserve
Most Stay At Home Moms are not thinking about divorce when they are “blindsided” by a husband who wants out. I certainly never was putting away cash in some account in case my husband fell in love with someone else! He paid all the bills, made all the investments, took care of pretty much everything financial. I know that was dumb. Very dumb…especially for a Stay At Home Mom with no income of “her own.”
Like I said, it’s never too late to find out exactly where you stand financially. It’s empowering no matter how much or how little you have. Try to put away some reserve funds when you realize a divorce is even a possibility.
Child Support & Alimony
If you have been a Stay At Home Mom, and together decided with your husband that you would give up your work to do that, you need to be compensated fairly for those lost wages.
Have your attorney make sure there is money in your alimony agreement so that you can go back to school or take classes to be recertified in your area of work. If you haven’t kept up with all of the latest technology, you may need special training for that as well. You should have time and resources to re-train and re-adjust to working again.
Children also have to make adjustments if their Stay At Home Mom is suddenly not available at home. Child care may need to be arranged. All of that should be taken into consideration into your alimony and child support.
Selling The House
When our life is flying apart, most of us usually want to stay in our family home especially to keep our children from needing to change schools. They are the ones who have no power in the new arrangement, but they often bear the brunt of the choice their parents’ have made to divorce.
My financial guy told me at the very first meeting, “Suzy, you need to get out of this house ASAP! You can’t afford it or keep up with it! Find yourself a smaller space, and move there as soon as possible!
Find A Job
In most cases, if you are a Stay At Home Mom facing divorce, it may not be possible for you to continue to stay at home. Talk with a career coach. Many Jr. Colleges have advisors, career coaches and scholarships to help you get back to work. Some Stay At Home Moms have provisions in the divorce agreement to go back to school or get additional job training.
My divorce attorney suggested that I not rush out and get a job as soon as I found out my husband had been having a long-term affair. Sometimes that works against a Stay At Home Mom leaving her husband. Even if we file, most people agree that a Stay At Home Mom should be given time AND RESOURCES to be able to get back into the workforce in a job that can actually support her and the children.
While you are figuring out how a Stay At Home Mom survives divorce, let us help you. Please don’t try to slog through this alone. It’s just too hard and we have all kinds of ways to help. You might start with our FREE 5-Day Divorce Recovery Crash Course. Hope to hear from you soon.
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