When you had your first child (or your second), you decided the cost of daycare was just too much and you left your career behind. Or you reduced to part-time work because you wanted more flexibility and more time to spend with your children.

But now you’re facing divorce. How are you going to afford to be a single mom? You’re not the only mom who has faced that challenge so here’s what you need to know to move forward:

1. Gather your financial records
Gather your financial records to show what your marital assets are. These include the following:

  • Bank statements
  • Your spouse’s W2s from prior years, payment stubs
  • Your W2s from prior years, payment stubs (if you’ve been working part time)
  • Insurance policy information
  • Investment account records
  • Debt information (mortgages, loans, credit cards)

2. Start saving
You’ll want to start saving any money you can to pay attorney fees and have some of it to set you up as a single mom. If you don’t have full access to your marital finances, you may need to start getting cash back at the grocery store or buying larger gift cards from credit companies to get your own bank account started.

3. Find an experienced attorney
Texas divorce law is complicated. You want someone who knows the process. This especially true for stay-at-home moms and moms who have been working part-time. A good attorney is your advocate and can show that caring for your children helped build assets for you and your spouse while married.

4. Get your home assessed        
You’ll want an up-to-date assessment of your family home. That will give you a more accurate picture how much value it’s gained during your marriage.

5. Create a new budget
How much can you cut costs down? How much will you need to have to live as a single mom? You need to know that as you prepare to live on your own. You may want to keep the family home to provide stability for your kids, but that may not be possible long term.
You also want to check your credit, so you know how that will affect your transition.

6. Figure out some compromises
You are unlikely to get everything you want in a custody order or a financial settlement. So, figure out what’s most important to you and focus on that during negotiations.

7. Start job hunting
Most likely you will have to return to work full time. If you’ve been out of the workforce for more than a few years, you’ll want to make sure your skills are up to date. You may need to take a class, start networking or try to find a work-from-home job.
By taking these steps, you’ll be able to navigate the divorce process better. Getting extra support from a good attorney, your family and your friends will help too.