Whether you were blindsided by a divorce, or you saw it coming for a long time before the discussion actually happened, it can upend your entire life. This is especially true for stay-at-home moms, who often give up their educational and career opportunities in order to take care of the home and their spouse.
Just because your contributions to the marriage aren’t financial, that doesn’t mean that you are not entitled to a fair share of the divorce settlement. Use these tips to plan for your financial future, and to talk more about your next steps, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Coumanis & York by calling 251-336-3121.
A Rainy Day Fund Can Help
As you start to prepare for the divorce coming your way, try to squirrel away money where you can. This doesn’t mean emptying the marital checking account or otherwise engaging in underhanded behavior. But if a friend pays you back for something, you receive a birthday card with cash in it, or you do an odd job to pick up some extra money, hang onto it.
It is all too easy for a spouse on a power trip to cut off their stay-at-home partner financially, leaving them with nothing. It all shakes out in divorce—the court doesn’t like to see a higher-earning partner leaving the mother of his children destitute—but in the meantime, you have to be able to get by.
Ensure You Have Access to the Marital Finances
It’s important to stay involved in the family finances, even if you don’t contribute to them. Some couples have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in which the husband is the only one on the account, has full control of the finances, and manages everything.
This leaves the wife without any knowledge of their financial well-being, which is a very hard position to be in. If you are on the marital account, make sure you can access it and keep track of transactions and expenses. If you are completely in the dark regarding your marital finances, know that you may have an uphill battle ahead of you. You may want to talk to a divorce attorney in Mobile before planning your next steps.
Start Thinking About What You Will Need During and After Divorce
Life after divorce could be more expensive than you think, so the more prepared you are, the better. You may want to look at Alabama’s child support calculations to get an estimate of what child support you may receive, but know that child support varies widely and you don’t want to base your entire financial plan on that.
You may also want to consider whether or not you want to request spousal support. While Alabama doesn’t automatically award spousal support, it is a viable option, especially if your marriage has lasted at least five years. The longer you have been married, the longer you may be able to receive support.
Don’t forget to consider the time between requesting a divorce and being granted a divorce. The court can award temporary child support and spousal support to ensure that you are able to get by and provide for your children.
Think About Work Options
You’ll also want to think long-term. What are your plans after spousal support runs out? You should use your time with spousal support to get the education or training you need to get established in a career. Spousal support is usually not permanent, and you want a plan that will allow you to get ahead and start creating the lifestyle you want.
Hire an Attorney As Soon As Possible
This can be very overwhelming, and an attorney can help. You may worry that you can’t talk to an attorney if you don’t have the retainer fee upfront, but if your attorney knows that you don’t have access to the marital finances, they may be able to work with you to ensure that you have what you need to pay them, pay your bills, and get treated fairly during the divorce.
Choose Coumanis & York for Your Divorce Case
If divorce is in your future, it’s time to start planning. Call our Mobile office at 251-336-3491, call our Daphne office at 251-336-3121, or to set up a consultation with our experienced Alabama divorce attorneys.