I’m a stay-at-home mom getting a divorce. Where do I start?

Ohio family lawyer, Amy Weis, digs into your divorce questions.

Are you a stay-at-home mom facing divorce? No idea where to start? You’re not alone. I consistently meet with women in Columbus, Ohio, who are venturing back into a career long after graduating college or giving their two weeks notice. While your next steps to independence may seem daunting, we can help you establish a clear game plan.

If you’re a mom navigating divorce in Ohio, take a look at some of these common questions that I tackled for a client. Whether you’re learning the ins and outs of your finances or how to handle your spouse’s attitude, we’ve seen it all.

Client: I’m so embarrassed that I don’t know what is going on with our checking accounts. How can I learn to get my finances in order?

Amy: Don’t be embarrassed. When you’re married, you’re a team. Different parts of the team have different responsibilities because it makes no sense for both people to redundantly complete the same tasks. Now that team is changing and each person takes on new responsibilities in their own households. An easy place to begin is learning to balance your checking account and create a budget.

Client: I haven’t been on the job hunt in years. Where should I start?

Amy: New Directions Career Center is a resource I recommend to many women reentering the workforce. They not only provide career counseling, but also connect you with other divorced women in Columbus who are facing similar life changes.

Client: How much child support should I expect?

Amy: To determine child support obligations, the court uses specific worksheets which combine both parents’ total gross income. The total of this adjusted gross income is then applied to a chart, which calculates the amount of support required to raise children in their parents’ income category. If however, your combined family income exceeds $150,000 annually, child support is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts and circumstances of the family. During an initial consultation, one of our lawyers can help you understand the range of child support scenarios that apply to you.

The Ohio State Bar Association explains, “The paying parent will pay his or her pro-rated share of that charted amount. For example, if Mom earns $10,000 per year, and Dad earns $30,000, the combined gross is $40,000. For one child, the charted amount is approximately $6,500 of child support per year. If Dad is the parent paying support, he must pay $4,875 per year, or 75 percent of the charted amount, because he earns 75 percent of the total combined parental income.”

Client: How will I support myself if I can’t find a job?

Amy: There are no spousal support guidelines in Ohio. When ordering spousal support, the court orders “appropriate and reasonable” support, taking into account different factors such as your standard of living before your separation or divorce; your income and earning abilities; your health; your educational level; and the duration of your marriage.

Client: My ex belittles my new independence. How should I handle his attitude?

Amy: Think with your head, not with your heart. As difficult as it is to separate your emotions from the situation at hand during and after a divorce, this approach is critical for a bwsmoother divorce and less drama down the road. The best way to take emotion out of the equation is to establish a clear set of achievable goals for yourself. This could be anything from establishing your own credit, to beginning a new career. A positive and emotionally healthy support network is imperative.