Divorce is often a stressful and scary time, but for a non-working spouse, these emotions can be heightened. If you're a stay-at-home parent, the fact that you don't earn an income can make you feel vulnerable during a divorce, causing you to wonder how you will go forward financially. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; however, you must understand your rights.
If you and your spouse have recently decided to file for divorce, don't feel as though you must run out and get a job right away. This is especially the case if you and your spouse had an agreement in place for you to stay home, such as to care for children and your spouse had been taking care of you financially.
While the divorce process is being carried out, many state laws require that a couple's finances remain in a state of status quo. For instance, if the husband was paying the mortgage, he would be required to continue doing so until the divorce is finalized.
How easily would it be for you to secure a job? This is an important question the court will generally analyze for a non-working spouse going through a divorce. Courts use this question to determine what level, if any, of financial assistance is necessary.
For instance, a non-working spouse with job skills and a college degree would have more employment potential than a non-working spouse without prior experience or education. If it will be difficult for you to find gainful employment, don't assume you will be left without any protection.
What You Need To Do
As a non-working spouse, the first thing you want to do is partner with an attorney. An attorney will analyze your situation to ensure you are granted access to every entitlement you deserve within the limits of the law. In the meantime, it is also important that you remain within the family home, unless it is unsafe.
When you move out of the home, the court may take this action as a sign of financial independence, which may block you from future support like alimony. As stressful and as tense as it might be, it's best to stay put.
A divorce does not have to mean financial ruin. Work with a divorce attorney to protect your rights and ensure you and your children are protected throughout your divorce and after.