Divorce creates stress for everyone, but perhaps no one is more worried during this process than those who stay at home to take care of their children. Knowing that your financial wellbeing is tied up in someone who no longer wants to be married to you—or to whom you no longer want to be married—creates intense stress and anxiety.
However, as a stay-at-home mother, you have rights, and you should be respected for the sacrifices you have made for your family. Learn more about how you can start this process and for more in-depth advice regarding your situation, call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500.
Get Access to Marital Funds and Hire an Attorney
Quick note: getting access to marital funds does not mean emptying the joint bank account. That’s the type of action that will make you look very bad in court. However, you do need access to your own money. You will need it to pay your attorney, take care of household bills, and feed your family.
After you hire an attorney, you can follow their advice regarding creating a separate account, how much you are legally permitted to take from the joint account, and how you can protect yourselves and your children financially. If your ex-partner locks you out of all of your accounts, take note of that and pass the information along to your attorney.
Make Sure You Have Copies of Documents
For your attorney to fight for a fair and equitable division of assets, we need to know what type of financial situation you’re dealing with. This can be challenging in high-income divorces, as wealth is often spread across retirement accounts, multiple checking and savings accounts, real estate, and businesses.
Ideally, you should get your hands on these documents as quickly as possible after you have made the decision to divorce. Note, though, that your ex-partner may have assets or accounts that they aren’t telling you about. If they seem to always have enough money for items that aren’t in the family budget or are unconcerned with your use of marital resources, they may have a separate pool they keep hidden from you. Let your attorney know if this is a concern, because those funds could still be considered marital assets.
Consider Your Housing Options
For many stay-at-home moms, the first instinct is to keep the family home for the sake of the children’s stability and wellbeing. Before you go all in on this idea, though, think about what’s best for you. It may very well be that keeping the marital home is what you truly want and what is truly best for you in this new stage of life. However, you may also gain more leverage by not fighting as hard for the home.
If you and your children can maintain a similar quality of life in a different location, it could be beneficial to sell the family home and use your part of the proceeds for a new place that is easier to pay for and maintain. This is particularly true if you will have to re-enter the workforce and will have less time to tend to a large home.
Prioritize Different Assets and Outcomes
Earlier we talked about leverage. This is an important part of any high-asset divorce or any divorce where there are substantial differences in earnings. This is true for both amicable and contentious divorces. You have a certain amount of wiggle room during negotiations, and you have to decide carefully where to use it.
For example, you can’t ask for the marital home, half of all the investments, and lifelong alimony and expect everything to go your way. Instead, you might think about what matters most to you and throw your weight behind those issues.
If you’re worried about income and stability, you might give up the family home in exchange for long-term alimony or possession of a rental property that will bring in residual income for you. If your main goal is to get back into the workforce and make up for lost years of career development, you might ask for an alimony lump-sum settlement that will cover tuition and allow you to stay out of the workforce to raise your children until your education is complete. If you aren’t sure what your priorities are, your attorney will help you figure that out.
Kirk Drennan Law is Here to Help
Making the transition from being a stay-at-home mom to being a single mom is a huge change, and you do not have to go through this transition alone. With our team by your side, you can navigate divorce with less stress and plan for the future. Schedule a consultation now by calling Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-5000 or getting in touch .