Divorce is often difficult for both sides, but it would be dishonest to say that there aren’t plenty of situations where one side is in a more stressful situation. Stay at home moms are often in an uncomfortable position when it comes to divorce because they have been out of the workforce while raising their children and have no means of income of their own. While divorce cases often attempt to split up assets as fairly as possible, the fact remains that once the dust has settled one party will be in a situation to earn money, and one party will not. If you are a stay at home mom in the middle of a divorce, it can be helpful to have a plan in place of what to do when the divorce is finalized, and you can move forward with your life.
Push for Divorce Mediation Over Trial Divorce
While this may not be an option in every divorce, coming to an agreement with your spouse is always better than fighting for rights and assets in court. There are no guarantees in a divorce that is driven by lawyers, so working with your spouse and an impartial mediator is a great way to make sure you come out the other side with an outcome that is beneficial to you and your family.
For a stay-at-home mom, divorce mediation costs a fraction of what it costs to divorce using lawyers. Lawyers are expensive and if you can avoid having to pay a lawyer you can come out the other side with more money to take care of yourself and your children. With the money you’ll save from not having to hire two lawyers, you’ll have a lot more available to:
- Stay in the house or buy a place of your own
- Pay off your credit cards
- Put your kids through college
- Save for your retirement
- Support yourself and your kids once the divorce is finalized
With emotions often running high, it can be difficult to see eye to eye during a divorce, but mediation is truly the best option for you, your spouse, and your kids if you can make it work.
Should a Stay at Home Mom Get a Job Before Divorce?
Simply put, stay at home moms will likely need to get a job at some point, so it’s best to start looking for work as soon as you know you are going to be divorcing your spouse. While child support and alimony can mitigate some of the financial stress, it is almost never going to be enough to support yourself completely. By proving that you are willing to work hard and achieve financial independence, the court will see your situation in a more sympathetic light which is beneficial when it comes to deciding on the financial aspect of your divorce.
Do Stay at Home Moms Get Custody in Divorce?
In NJ there is a presumption that both parents will have joint legal custody in most circumstances. Residential custody is where the children primarily live. The parent who gets primary residential custody is usually the parent who provided the majority of the caretaking responsibilities for the children before the divorce.
Prioritize Your Physical and Emotional Well-Being
Divorce is a major upheaval in anyone’s life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when you’re a stay-at-home parent trying to make the process as bearable as possible for your children. But you won’t be able to provide for your children’s needs if you lose sight of your own.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll need a helping hand during your divorce—anyone from a friend to watch the kids during a mediation session to a therapist to help you with your worries and frustrations. Reach out to family and friends, and let them know what’s going on. You’ll probably find that many offer to help you.
Finally, a divorce is a good time to make a “bucket list” of things you’ve wanted to do or accomplish. Even though it might seem impossible right now, divorce can result in new opportunities to check these boxes. And when times feel particularly hard, having some written goals and aspirations might provide you with some inspiration as you power through.
Organize All Your Financial Documents
Organize your financial documents and determine what’s missing. You’ll need to collect everything with a dollar sign on it. Here’s the list I usually start my clients with. I always let them know that some documents may not be relevant to their situation. I may also find that we need some additional documents as we get into their case. You may not have access to all the records on the list. If that’s the case, do not stress. You can request them through discovery at a later date.
- Tax returns (last three years), including all supporting schedules and W-2’s
- Pay stubs for each party
- Investment account statements
- Bank account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Policy statements for any life insurance and/or annuities
- Mortgage statements
- Other outstanding loan statements
- Credit card statements
- Social security estimates (available at www.ssa.gov)
For any business owned, P&L for the current year and previous three years
Note: If you need help with this step, we walk you through how to create a divorce binder in our online course, “How to Prepare for Divorce.” We’ll show you how to organize a physical or cloud-based storage system with all of the necessary financial documents.
What is Discussed in Divorce Mediation?
In divorce mediation, couples work together with a mediator to come to a legally binding, mutually satisfying agreement resolving all of the issues that would need to be decided on in a typical divorce, including but not limited to:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Parenting Time
- Equitable Distribution of Assets
- House Ownership
- Health Insurance
- Retirement Money
Contact Steven B. Menack About Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation can be a positive and collaborative method of conflict resolution in the dissolution of a marriage. Mr. Menack is an experienced mediator that has helped over 5,000 clients over the last 25 years. Contact us today in order to find out more about our mediation services.
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