You have devoted much of your married life to caring for your children, your home, and your husband. As your marriage comes to an end, you are probably worried about what the next chapter holds for you. You might have very young children who still require full-time care, and you do not want to put them in daycare. You might want to return to work but lack a skill set that will land you a well-paying job. We take a look at some of the challenges you could face and offer some advice on how to overcome them.
Getting Custody of Your Children
As the primary caregiver, it should not be difficult for you to get the custody arrangement you want in a divorce. Many women don’t work outside the home after having children because their husbands work long hours or travel extensively for work. Staying home rather than trying to fit in your own career made more sense for your family at the time. If your children are still young, it is likely that the judge will award you primary custody because it is in the best interest of the children to keep their lives as close as possible to what they were before the divorce. The sacrifices you have made to support your family and your desire to maintain consistency and normalcy for your children should be presented to the judge.
Spousal Support and Child Support
If you are not earning an income at the time of the divorce and you have primary custody of the children, the court should award you spousal support, or alimony, as well as child support. However, these support payments will likely not equal the resources you had before the divorce, so you will have to consider cutting expenses and possibility downsizing your house. In addition, California Family Code mandates that both parents contribute equally to supporting the children. If your children are not in school yet or you have a child with a disability, your contribution could be providing full-time care. However, if your children are school-age or teenagers, you will probably be expected to contribute financially to their care.
Returning to Work After a Divorce
Many stay-at-home moms find that they have to get a job after a divorce. In fact, many women want to get a job or even start a new career. Being aware of this possibility in the early stages of the divorce can set you up for success. Here are some suggestions for laying the groundwork for a return to work:
- Insist on a custody agreement that helps you out. Sharing custody, even if it is not 50/50, will be essential to free you up to return to work. A typical every-other-weekend-and-holidays arrangement, however, will not help you hold down a full-time job, so you will have to be clear about your childcare needs in the custody agreement.
- Consider going back to school. If you need a degree or some kind of retraining to be marketable in the workforce, you should make that clear in the divorce proceedings and take the time to do it rather than accepting a low-wage job. You should be awarded spousal support and possibly even tuition payments through temporary rehabilitative spousal support.
- Start with part-time or volunteer work. It can take time to build connections to find the perfect job. While collecting spousal support, consider taking a part-time job or even volunteering in a field that interests you to get your foot in the door.
Networking will be very important as you start over after divorce. Reach out to everyone you know and tell them you are looking for a meaningful career. The odds are good that your peers will have connections that will help you out.
We Help Stay-at-Home Moms Plan for the Future
If you have been home with young children for years, it will be hard to think about launching a career right away. However, you do need to plan for the possibility in your divorce and custody negotiations. Nathan Law Offices exclusively represent women in divorce, and we understand the need for setting stay-at-home moms up for success after divorce. Contact our Marin County office to find out how we can help you.