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Preparing for Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide for Stay-at-Home Parents

A mom playing with her children.
Divorce can be especially challenging for a stay at home parent. With early preparation you can secure your future

As a stay-at-home parent, you may face unique challenges during the divorce process. You've sacrificed a lot to stay at home and raise children, including: earning potential, retirement savings and career growth opportunities. All of which needs to be taken into account during your divorce negotiations.

Society (and some spouses) sometimes undervalues the non-monetary contributions of stay-at-home parents. According to Yahoo Finance, in an article published in 2021 they quoted a fair salary for a stay at home parent would be $116,000.00 annually. Take that, society!

The lack of a paycheck can lead to the perception that the work involved in childcare and managing a household is less significant. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Business Insider, women in the US did $1.61 trillion of unpaid care work in 2021. Yes, TRILLION.

At The Divorce Planner, we are committed to making divorce planning accessible for everyone, regardless of their budget.

The information in this guide will help you navigate the emotional and practical aspects of separation and divorce, emphasizing the importance of financial planning and preparation. Our goal is to empower you with actionable tips and resources that will help you take control of your situation and build resilience.

Early preparation can significantly impact your future in a positive way. The more prepared you are, the easier the transition will be for you and your family.

Here are a few essential steps to help you get started:

Begin With Your Finances

As a stay-at-home parent, you may be more financially vulnerable compared to your spouse. So getting a handle on your finances is crucial to your independence moving forward. Some actionable tips include:

  • Review your financial situation: Evaluate your credit score, assets, debts, and potential entitlements (e.g., child support and alimony). Get a clear picture of your current financial health.

  • Open bank accounts: Open your checking and savings accounts, as well as a credit card, in your name to establish your financial independence.

  • Create a budget: Establishing a budget will help you manage your resources more effectively and set realistic expectations for your post-divorce lifestyle.

PRO TIP:  The Divorce Planner's Ultimate Separation And Divorce Prep Bundle and Separation And Divorce Prep Course have helped thousands prepare in advance of a separation and divorce so they save time and money, make smart choices, and move forward with clarity and confidence. The digital worksheets and course (products included!) walk you through exactly what documents and statements to gather, itemize your assets and their value with ease, and the spreadsheets make figuring out your financial realities to snap. Best of all, you'll pinpoint your divorce goals and priorities so you stay focused on building your best next chapter.

Once you complete the course and bundle you'll have a everything necessary to hand over to a divorce attorney or mediator so they can get right to work. (It's all of the administrative stuff they require!) HOW EASY IS THAT?!

Get Legal Advice ASAP

Educating yourself about your rights and what to expect is one of the most empowering things you can do to prepare for a divorce. Navigating the legal aspects of divorce requires professional help. During divorce there are so many variables that have a direct impact on your future, so working with a family law attorney can ensure that your best interests are represented, and your rights are protected.

Some tips when seeking legal counsel include:

  • Research attorneys in your area: Look for lawyers specializing in family law or divorce to ensure they have the expertise required for your case.

  • Seek consultations: Many attorneys offer free or low-cost consultations. Use these meetings to assess their expertise, communication style, and fee structure to determine if they're the right fit for you.

  • Ask for referrals: Friends, family members, or professional networks might be able to recommend attorneys they've had a positive experience with.

Download The Divorce Planner's freebie, 24 Questions To Ask A Divorce Attorney Or Mediator to get a jump on what you should be asking so you can make the most of your consultations.

Address The Emotional Side Of Divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally challenging time, and staying mentally healthy is vital to moving forward. Some strategies for coping with the emotional stress of divorce include:

  • Seek professional support: A therapist, counselor, or divorce coach can help you work through your emotions and develop healthy coping strategies.

  • Establish a support network: Lean on friends, family members, and support groups who understand and can provide empathy.

  • Prioritize self-care: Make time for relaxation, exercise, and hobbies that bring you joy.

  • Practice mindfulness: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and journaling can help you keep in touch with your emotions and remain present.

Start Job Hunting

The reality is that going from a two-income household to one after divorce is a significant shift, doubly so for people who rely on one income. You can only do so much with a set amount of money so a reality many stay at home parents face after divorce is that they need to get a part time or full time job.

Re-entering the workforce might be overwhelming if you've been a stay-at-home parent for an extended period. However, it's necessary to secure a stable income and start rebuilding your finances. Here's how to get started:

  • Update your resume: Highlight your past work experience, update your skills section, and showcase any volunteer work or side projects you've been involved in during your time as a stay-at-home parent.

  • Networking: Connect with past colleagues, friends, or family members to explore job opportunities. Join networking events and professional organizations in your industry to expand your network.

  • Explore flexible work opportunities: Remote positions, freelancing, or part-time roles might be more suitable for your current lifestyle and make the transition back into the workforce smoother.

Check out this article in Parents Magazine with 15 Perfect Side Hustles For Mom's. You could get paid for things your already doing!

Anticipate Balancing Parenting and Work Post-Divorce

Moving forward as a stay-at-home parent turned working parent brings new challenges. But by prioritizing time-management techniques and establishing a support network, you can navigate post-divorce life more effectively. Here are a few tips:

  • Create a schedule: Establish a daily routine that balances work, childcare, and self-care.

  • Communicate with your ex-spouse: Open communication about parenting schedules, decision-making, and the well-being of your children can help make co-parenting more effective.

  • Seek support: Turn to friends, family members, and local community organizations for help with childcare, emotional support, and practical assistance.

Divorce is no cake-walk, but with the right mindset and proper preparation, you can create a brighter future for yourself and your children. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking professional and personal support, you will be well-equipped to handle this challenging experience.

Want one on one divorce preparation help? We've got you! Book a consultation or coaching session with divorce prep and financial planning coach Alex Beattie.

Prefer to go at your own pace? Check out The Divorce Planner's Ultimate Separation And Divorce Prep Course! It combines the best of both worlds - videos from The Divorce Planner and all of the digital prep and financial planning tools available in our shop.

Remember, with early preparation and financial planning, you have the power to shape your future and be your own best advocate throughout the process!


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