When you got married, you may have been one of many women in Ohio who sacrificed a career to stay home and raise a family. Perhaps you've been able to add supplemental income to your household by working from home or using your creative entrepreneurial skills to turn a profit by selling products you create or providing day care for moms who work outside the home, etc.
Chances are, however, that if you've been at home full-time for a number of years, you'd likely encounter a serious challenge if you were to suddenly become responsible for 100% of your own financial needs. If you are heading for divorce, such thoughts might be causing you a lot of stress, especially regarding your children's best interests. Before filing a divorce petition, it pays to build a strong support network and to plan ahead.
Stepping into life as a single parent
Even if you earned a supplemental income from home during marriage, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of suddenly becoming the sole breadwinner in your household. The following practical ideas may be helpful in your situation:
- If you have a lot of credit card debt, it's best to try to pay it down or satisfy it completely before you file for divorce. The less debt you enter your new lifestyle with, the better, and Ohio is an equitable property state, so the court typically divides liabilities as well as marital assets.
- Even in dual-income households, emergency situations can spark serious financial crises. If you are going to divorce, you may first want to try to set aside some savings to provide a cushion in case unexpected expenses hit you down the line.
- Considering re-entering the outside workforce is definitely something most stay-at-home mothers in Ohio and elsewhere do when their marital statuses change. If it's been 10 years or more since you worked outside the home, finding paid employment may be one of your biggest challenges, but it can also give you the confidence you need to know you'll be able to provide for your family.
- It pays to research divorce laws, especially those concerning child support and alimony, when finances are a high priority. In most cases, child support will not provide enough money to cover all expenses related to children's needs.
It can be stressful and even a bit scary to start over in life after many years of marriage. Like most good parents, you love your kids and want what's best for them. You also don't want to do anything that's going to place their well-being at risk.
Where to seek support
As a stay-at-home parent, you may be able to count on trusted family members or friends to help you and your children adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle. Perhaps you know someone who can provide babysitting as needed. Also, simply talking to others who have been through similar situations in the past can provide support and encouragement. Many parents schedule meetings with experienced family law attorneys to discuss available resources for helping them keep stress to a minimum as they move on in life after divorce.