If you are facing divorce, you likely have a lot of uncertainty about how what your life will be like after you are no longer married. This is especially true if you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for years, focusing on raising your children. How will that affect your divorce settlement? Will you need to go back to work full-time now? Will you be able to keep the family home?

Preparing for a new life

Before you can get the answers to your questions, you will have to start to prepare for life on your own. So first, you need to become familiar with your and your spouse’s finances. You need to gather the following before meeting with a divorce attorney:

  • W2s and tax returns from prior years
  • Bank statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Loan and mortgage information
  • Investment account information
  • Retirement account information

Next, you need to hire a divorce attorney. You should look for someone who is experienced, personable, has a keen eye for detail and responds quickly to any questions you might have. An attorney can help you determine what assets you may be entitled to so you have a better idea of what your post-divorce budget will look like.

You also may want to consider filing for spousal support. That could help you if you need to go back to school to start a new career or if it might take some time for you to reenter the workforce.

Finally, you’ll want to have the marital home appraised so you know how much it’s worth. If you want to keep it, you will have to give your spouse other assets that equal half its worth. You also need evaluate whether you can afford to pay the mortgage and upkeep costs on your own.

Establishing yourself

In order to establish yourself on your own, you first need to start saving any money you can, so you have your own funds to draw from. You also should come up with a post-divorce budget, so you know exactly how much you’ll need to cover your expenses after the divorce.

More than likely, you will have to go back to work to keep the family home or maintain a lifestyle like the one you had while married. So, you’ll need to get a resume together, start networking and begin applying for positions.

Transitioning from being a married stay-at-home mom to a working single mom is no easy feat. You most likely will need support from friends, a counselor and your attorney along the way. No matter what obstacles you face during this time, remember to focus your children’s well-being and happiness as well. This is a big transition for them too.