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Money Advice for Divorcing Mothers

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 29-May-2017

If you are a mother who is headed toward divorce and you have minor children at home (children under the age of 18), your finances are about to change. We certainly recognize that every couple’s financial situation is unique; however, we do encounter more stay-at-home mothers than stay-at-home fathers. While you may certainly be the breadwinner, if you are a homemaker, or if your husband earns more money than you, then this post is meant for you.

Suppose you have been out of the workforce for years so you could take care of your children. Or, perhaps you work part-time, but you certainly don’t earn enough money to support your entire household. Or, perhaps you work full-time like your husband, but you earn roughly the same amount as him, or you earn less than he does.

In any case, what should you expect in the divorce? Will your husband be paying child and spousal support, and if so, is it enough to supplement your income? Here are some things you should know about money and divorce:

  • Spousal support is not automatic in a divorce. It is awarded on a case-by-case basis.
  • If a lower-earning spouse commits adultery, he or she is NOT entitled to spousal support. However, if a man or woman cheats, their spouse takes them back and they file for divorce years later, the court may not prohibit spousal support.
  • If spousal support is awarded or agreed upon, the amount will depend on the higher-earning spouse’s income and their ability to pay it.
  • Even if spousal support is paid, it may be temporary. So, the receiving spouse is usually expected to become self-supporting asap.
  • Unless you and your spouse have significant assets, or you have a disabled child, or you’re disabled, you’ll likely have to become financially independent soon after the divorce.

Will I Have to Return to Work?

Even if you have young children at home, it is highly likely that you will need to return to work. If your husband earns a six-figure salary and you’ve been a homemaker for most of your marriage, you may be able to live on spousal support and child support until your children are all school-age, but there is no guarantee.

Usually, once spouses split ways, the lower-earning spouse needs to start thinking of how they’re going to earn enough money to support themselves and their children. If you’re currently unemployed or if you’re underemployed, it’s time to start making financial plans.

Ways to improve your financial well-being:

  • You can go back to work now.
  • Go back to college or enroll in online courses.
  • Start finding ways to earn extra money, even if it’s out of the house.
  • Consider watching others’ children for extra cash.
  • Enroll in a trade school.
  • If you don’t have any job skills, start thinking about what you’d like to do for a living after the divorce.
  • Consider trading babysitting with another single mom.
  • Carefully consider your childcare options for when you’re working or in school (e.g. family, teenage siblings, friends, neighbors, daycare, your ex-husband, a preschool).
  • If you can’t afford your home as a single person, it’s time to start thinking about moving into a smaller, more affordable home in a good neighborhood.
  • Consider living close to your ex-husband after the divorce; this way, you can help each other out with childcare while you both work.
  • Consider having an opposite work schedule with your ex-husband so he can watch the kids while you’re working or going to school.
  • If you decide to go back to school, find one that offers childcare for students.
  • If you are not good with budgeting, math, or money, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you develop a post-divorce budget.

We hope this information helps. If you are interested in having an uncontested, no-fault divorce for just $219, contact our Pennsylvania divorce firm! Let us help you make the divorce process as quick and painless as possible.