Divorce And The Stay At Home Wife

Divorce And The Stay At Home Wife

Often, the decision to have the wife stay at home is made consciously by a couple. This decision is dictated by several factors, among them, the increasing cost of child care, stress of managing the home and a career, and sometimes, simply because “it’s better for the family”.

But what happens when the couple decides to divorce? Divorce is life-changing in itself already. But for the stay at home wife, the effect is even more dramatic and stressful.  

In addition, having not contributed a paycheck to the family finances, she often feels she has a smaller voice in the relationship and less control over the finances.

Divorce Challenges Faced By A Stay at Home Wife

The stay at home wife has to deal with extra challenges when facing divorce.

Public Stigma.  When your job description includes being child caregiver and a homemaker, the perception is that you don’t have a “real” job. Though it is a full time job, involving incessant work and long hours, the fact that it does not pay puts the stay at home wife at a great disadvantage.

When this has been your job your whole married life, divorce can make you feel suddenly “fired” from the work you have agreed to assume. And this makes the stigma of being a stay at home wife even more acute.

Control over Finances. As a stay at home wife, you have been financially dependent on your husband during the marriage. It is common to not have a bank account in your own name, or money that you control exclusively. 

Your credit card may not be yours and you may merely be a supplementary cardholder. And you might not even have knowledge of all marital financial accounts; checking savings, retirement, insurance, etc., so worry and doubt about your own personal financial security is a real concern. 

Among common concerns during any divorce are cash flow, retirement planning and ability to save for the future. How do you make ends meet to support your kids and carve out a life independent from your ex? Stress? Oh yes!

Lack of Skills Necessary for the Job Market.  Closely linked with the above, a stay at home wife often is not given much opportunity to hone skills other than those needed to run a household.  

While you may have a degree or have held a job prior your decision to be a stay at home mom, the highly competitive job market is hard to get back into if you do not possess the up-to-date skills, and experience that employers are looking for.

Transitioning to Work Outside of Home.  Returning to the workforce is challenging for a home based wife. There are well-established routines around the home.

But if circumstances make it financially impossible to continue staying at home and going back to the work is the only option, you are faced with the challenge of finding appropriate childcare or adjusting activities and routines to the new schedule, and dealing with concerns on how children will handle the change. 

What You Can Do 

While a divorce and the challenges it brings might seem insurmountable, it is not the end of the world. Here are specific steps to take back control of your life and gain financial empowerment during divorce and beyond:

Obtain Financial Records. Taking stock of your financial status is an important first step. You need to make a personal copy of all financial records and other important information.

This includes records of assets as well as debts. You may also want to include bank statements, investments statements, home closing documents, mortgage information, car loans or car titles, retirement account statements, 3 years of tax returns, monthly bills and credit card statements.

These records are important to help your divorce financial planner when you make your financial plans for your future. You are entitled to copies of all of them, even if your name is not on the accounts.

You should especially be vigilant about records if you suspect your spouse of hiding assets. Then he can’t avoid sharing them with you during the divorce settlement.

Hire a Good Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. Not only will a good CDFA understand all the financial issues you will be faced with, he/she will also understand the process of divorce.

A CDFA can help guide you through the many financial decisions you will have to make throughout the divorce process. Your divorce financial planner will help with several things:

  • Compile your financial information and provide your divorce attorney or mediator a fair and accurate summary of the marital assets and debts.

  • Put together a budget so you know how much support you need post-divorce.

  • Create short term and long term financial plans so you do not only survive divorce but thrive thereafter.

Equip Yourself with Knowledge. Often people are petrified into inaction because they fear the unknown. 

  • Divorce Process. Learning about the divorce process and what you are entitled to can help you plan for your future. Here are some things you need to understand:

​1.  Alimony.  You should research California’s laws and get an idea of what amount of alimony you may be entitled to after divorce.

 

Your attorney will be able to explain the laws of your jurisdiction. Do not be afraid to ask.

Knowing how much alimony you will get will also help you in creating a budget to get your finances in control. To read about alimony, click here

2. Child-Support Laws. Again, laws vary depending upon a range of factors including the income level of the father. Following a divorce, your child’s father, and amount of time each parent spends with the children.

Knowing how much child support you can get will help you make plans for the future. For more information on child support, click here.

3. Division of Assets and Liabilities. Learning about division of assets and liabilities and how they will affect your finances will help you make sound decisions. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® can explain how this all works. For an overview on division of property and debt, click here.

  • Job Skills. In certain circumstances, it is possible to continue staying at home if the divorce settlement allows one to do so. However, if getting back into the workforce is the only option, taking stock of what you know and what you need to learn is the first step. 

Often, as a stay at home wife, you take for granted certain skills that you already possess. Time management, organizational and multitasking skills are certainly abilities that are valuable in the workplace. The other technical things such as typing skills, knowledge of certain computer software, etc., can be learned by reading or taking online classes.

Or you can choose to work from home too. There is a growing number of opportunities to do this such as working as a virtual assistant, a freelance writer, blogger, graphic artist, etc. Again, it is just a matter of matching your skills and capabilities with whatever you many choose to go into. 

A stay at home wife has to overcome extra challenges as she faces divorce. During this trying period when you may feel at your lowest, it is important to remember to value your worth, too. This will help you face the future with confidence.

I understand the havoc divorce can wreak on your life not only emotionally, but also financially. And as a stay at home wife, it can be doubly difficult. 

We will help you through the entire process so have the opportunity to regain control of your life, and come out financially confident and motivated to achieve your financial success! Call me today for a free consult: 907-347-3860

Tags: divorce help, stay at home wife, stay at home mom, divorce financial planning, spousal support, child support, asset division, CFDA, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, alimony, women and divorce, assets

This information is not intended to be a substitute for seeking legal advice from an attorney. For legal or tax advice please seek the services of a qualified attorney and/or qualified tax professional.

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Kimberly Surber is a Certified Financial Planner®  and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®; however such registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training and no inference to the contrary should be made. Information presented is for informational purposes only, does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities, and should not be considered investment advice.  Kimberly Surber has not taken into account the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any individual investor. There is a risk of loss from an investment in securities, including the risk of loss of principal. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be profitable or suitable for a particular investor's financial situation or risk tolerance. Asset allocation and portfolio diversification cannot assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed here. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investments involve risk, including loss of principal and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Information provided reflects Kimberly Surber's views as of certain time periods, such views are subject to change at any point without notice. For a copy of our Privacy Policy, see below.

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