If your marriage is strong, becoming a stay-at-home parent (SAHP) can be an excellent way to support your spouse and children. However, it can make ending a bad relationship seem much harder.
Don’t let your status as a SAHP keep you trapped in a marriage you don’t want. You have plenty of options to move on with your life. Stay-at-home parents can get the divorce and support they need with a bit of preparation and forward thinking. Here’s why many SAHPs are intimidated by the thought of getting a divorce and what you can do to make the process as smooth as possible.
Complications of Divorcing as a SAHP
As a stay-at-home parent, you’re most likely under- or unemployed. Most people in your situation focus on raising the children and maintaining the household while their spouses bring in the necessary income. As such, money is the fundamental root of most SAHPs’ fear of divorce.
This money issue leads to three basic complications when SAHPs get divorced:
- Income: The parent who stays home likely has little to no income of their own. Depending on how their spouse structured their finances, they may not even have access to most of the marital accounts.
- Housing: Many SAHPs worry about how they will afford housing without a job. They may be rightfully concerned about affording the mortgage on the family home or being approved by landlords to rent an apartment after the split is finalized.
- Custody: Without a source of income or a guaranteed place to live, many stay-at-home parents fear losing custody of the children they sacrificed their careers to raise.
All of these fears make sense. However, Oregon has put legislation in place that is intended to address these very situations. Between its asset division and spousal support laws, Oregon ensures that SAHPs like you have options if they need to escape their marriage.
How to Prepare for Your New Single Life
It takes time and effort to make the most of Oregon laws protecting you and your finances during a divorce. Without the proper preparation, you may struggle to land on your feet. These four tips can help you prepare for your split and ensure that you enter the next stage of your life with the support you need to succeed.
1. Learn About Your Household Finances
Before doing anything else, you should learn as much as possible about your family’s finances. If you already help manage the finances, this should be simple. Otherwise, you need to know how your spouse currently handles issues like bills, taxes, and savings.
The best place to start is by gathering documentation like:
- Tax documents
- Income statements
- Bank statements
- Loan and mortgage contracts and statements
- Insurance policies
- Investment details
- Car titles
If you’re not listed on any marital accounts, it’s also a good idea to have your spouse add you to them. This will give you a better overview of your family’s financial standing and what you’ll need to do to maintain it after your divorce.
2. Seek Out an Experienced Divorce Attorney
With your financial information gathered, the next step is to get qualified legal help. An experienced attorney will have the knowledge and skills to help you end your marriage and receive an equitable divorce settlement.
They can also help if your spouse doesn’t cooperate with your efforts during the divorce. The right attorney can help you fight for access to marital funds, direct you to valuable resources like housing for single parents, and keep your divorce moving despite your spouse’s actions.
3. Make a Budget
Once you know your current financial standing, you can make a rough budget for your new life. Consider details like:
- Phone and internet bills
- Children’s expenses like school supplies
With all the financial documents you’ve pulled together, you should have a rough idea of how much you spend on these categories. Go through each category and determine where you can cut back and what’s essential for your quality of life. Once you’ve broken everything down, you should clearly understand how much you need to support yourself and your family after your split.
4. Consider How You’ll Support Yourself
Next, you can start thinking about how you’ll support yourself. During the split, you should receive an equitable share of the marital assets you and your spouse acquired during your marriage. These assets should help you fund at least part of your new life, but you may need an additional source of income.
Ideally, you’ll get a job before the divorce is finalized, so you have the smoothest possible transition into your new life. However, that’s not always possible. If you’ve been out of the workforce for a long time, you may need to pursue a degree or reapply for credentials to return to your field. That’s precisely the situation that spousal support (alimony) is intended to cover.
Spousal support is court-ordered series of payments from your ex-spouse intended to support you until you can support yourself. It is typically awarded by the court when one spouse earns significantly less than the other and has sacrificed their career for the family. As a stay-at-home parent, you have an excellent chance of receiving spousal support until you can support yourself as long as you pursue it in court.
Prepare for Post-Divorce Life with Regele Law, LLC
Supporting yourself after living as a stay-at-home parent can be intimidating, but it’s worthwhile. You can start preparing for your new life with expert assistance from the team at Regele Law, LLC.
Our compassionate attorneys understand how stressful it can be to get divorced without a source of income. We are prepared to guide you through the divorce process, retain custody of your children, and maintain your quality of life. Reach out today to learn how we can help you pursue temporary spousal support orders to maintain your standard of living despite your split. You can schedule your free consultation by calling 503-594-7027 or messaging us online.