If you are a stay-at-home parent, it can be much more overwhelming to plan to file for divorce than if you work outside the home. You may have taken a break from working and your career to take care of your children. In addition, you may be relying on your spouse’s income to pay your living expenses.
It is especially important to plan ahead when you are a stay-at-home mom or dad and are considering filing for divorce. Here are five tips on what to do before you take the step of filing your complaint and other paperwork.
Tip #1: Gather Your Documents
You will need to collect all the financial documents that show what assets and income you and your spouse have. An experienced divorce attorney will need this information to get a clear idea of your finances, and how to best help you receive what you deserve in your divorce. Documents you should obtain include:
- Prior years’ W2s and tax returns
- Bank statements
- Paystubs and other income documentation for your spouse
- Insurance policies
- Vehicle titles
- Mortgages for your real estate
- Deeds to any property you own
- Investment and retirement account statements
- Monthly bills, credit card statements, and documentation of other debts
Tip #2: Develop Your Budget
Your next step is to figure out what your monthly income and expenses are as a married couple. Then you need to develop a budget for when you are separated and pay your own living expenses.
Tip #3: Consider Asking for Alimony and Child Support
You may need to request alimony, also referred to as spousal support, and child support so that you have the income needed to support you and your children. The judge would use a number of factors, such as the length of your marriage, monetary and nonmonetary contributions of you and your spouse, and your standard of living while married, in determining whether to award you alimony and how much you should receive. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to receive temporary alimony and child support while your divorce is being resolved.
Tip #4: Return to Work
You will probably have to get a job sometime in the future. In many cases, alimony is only awarded for a set period of time rather than permanently. The alimony will give you the money you need to support yourself while you go back to school, if necessary, to increase your job skills or to conduct an extensive search for employment that can support you and give you the flexibility you need as a single parent.
Tip #5: Hire a Lawyer
You should retain a knowledgeable divorce attorney as soon as possible if you are considering filing for divorce. They can explain your options and help you plan so that your separation and divorce proceed smoothly. They will also file your divorce and fight for your rights in the divorce proceedings.
Are you a stay-at-home parent thinking about filing a divorce in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation to learn about how we can assist you.