Going through a divorce is traumatic enough for your emotional well-being, let alone the damage done to your financial life. As a mother, concerns about what your divorce is doing to your children consume your mind almost as much as how you will pay your bills, keep food on the table, and provide for them as a single parent. Knowing what challenges you will face as a single mother can help you create a game plan about the best way to take care of your children in your new life circumstances. Here are 7 financial challenges mothers face after the divorce is over.
7 Financial Challenges after Divorce
- Keeping Food on the Table
Now that you are divorced, it is likely that your household income has been cut in half or possibly more. Perhaps you weren’t working at all when you were married. Whatever your circumstances, your focus now revolves around how to maintain the necessities in your life. Of course, school supplies and clothing are also some financial causes for concern after your divorce. These things don’t come cheap.
One of the biggest worries you may have as a single mom is how to keep food on the table. Studies of the average family show that a two-person household will need $390 monthly for groceries. This price only goes up with the more children you have.
- Paying bills
Paying your monthly bills or mortgage payment is one of the biggest financial concerns for newly single mothers. Taking care of your household utilities can be daunting and overwhelming, but don’t give up hope. There are plenty of ways to get through this time until you can find a more financially stable circumstance. For example, you could get a second job or a work-from-home option online to give you supplementary income. Selling your home and moving in with family members or close friends during this time may also relieve the financial burden. You may also consider refinancing your home in order to get a lower rate.
- Finding Somewhere to Live
The sad truth is, one in five women will fall under the poverty line ($20,000 household income a year for a family of three) after going through a divorce. This isn’t a great statistic for single mothers looking to provide the best schooling and housing situation for their children. One of the biggest financial responsibilities you will have toward your children is where you are going to live. If you aren’t able to keep your original family home, don’t despair. There are many housing assistance programs for low-income families or single mothers that will be there to help you during this time.
You may choose to live with family members temporarily after your divorce. Remember to never be too proud to accept help from friends and family during this trying time.
- Paying for Childcare
As a newly single mother, your financial obligations may force you to go back to work or even take on two jobs at once. This can be a devastating blow, since not only will you feel anxious and exhausted, it also takes your time away from your children.
Working full-time may mean you need to find adequate childcare when you are not able to be home with your little ones. Look for students in early childcare fields as an affordable solution to at-home childcare. You may also enlist your family and friends to take care of your children while you are at work, at least until you are financially stable again.
- Keeping up with Transportation
The average car payment per month in the USA comes to $493 per month on a new vehicle. This loan seems like a great idea when you were a family unit sharing financial responsibility for your purchases, but as a single mother, your head may be spinning when you try and calculate how you can keep your vehicle.
As any parent knows, transportation is vital. This is necessary to take your children to school, get groceries, go to work, and in case of an emergency. If you find that you cannot cover your new car loan, you may be able to negotiate with the dealership to trade it in, or you may sell it online and opt for a used car that is in good condition.
- Health Insurance
Medical responsibilities are another financial burden that now fall on you as a single mother. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 women will lose their health insurance coverage for some time post-divorce. This can cause a great deal of anxiety as you take on this challenge. Don’t let it overwhelm you. As a mother, it is your job to make sure that your children are taken care of, especially in case of any emergency. Do diligent research to ensure you end up with the best insurance policy that will cover your family for a manageable rate.
- Settling Leftover Debts
The longer you were married, the more likely it is that you and your ex incurred a certain amount of shared debt together. Perhaps you bought a car that you are still making payments on, assuming that your spouse would be there to help pay for it.
Starting your life as a married couple was probably a financial struggle to begin with – and that was before you had credit cards. A mortgage, furniture loans, and credit card debt are also common debts that may be left over after a divorce. If these debts were not settled in court, or your spouse refuses to help you pay their share, it can seem incredibly daunting. Especially when you are trying to start your life over.
Don’t Give Up
The financial challenges mothers face after the divorce is over aren’t easy to deal with but don’t give up. With proper planning, help from family and friends, patience, and determination, you can get through this difficult time with your head held high.
PS: For tips on making ends meet and surviving single motherhood, check out Amanda’s Single Mom Survival Guide.