Tips For Single Mothers Starting Over After A Divorce
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Tips For Single Mothers Starting Over After A Divorce

There’s no sugarcoating it: divorce is difficult, though not as uncommon as it once was, with some sources stating that nearly 50% of marriages in the US will eventually lead to separation or divorce.  Not including the emotional toll that going through a separation can cause, there are myriad of other legal and logistical considerations both parties have to keep in mind. Things can be especially complicated when you throw kids into the mix, with negotiations and court battles over who can have primary custody and who gets to schedule weekend visits.

For newly single mothers, divorce can be especially hard. After going through court proceedings and the splitting up of shared property and bank accounts, the median cost of a divorce is $7,000, with the average cost being anywhere between $15,000-$20,000. This has the potential to leave women in significantly worsened financial situations, and many often stress about what to do to get back on their feet. 

If you’re currently in the process of going through a divorce, know that you’re not alone and there is a light at the end of the tunnel! In this article, we’ll give you some helpful tips for starting over if you’re a newly single mom going through a divorce and have no money.  

Overview

As previously stated, going through a divorce has the potential to create a massive dent in your finances, and things can get especially complicated if you happened to depend on your spouse financially, such as those who take up the mantle of a stay-at-home parent. 

The one thing you have to remember is that it takes time to get back on your feet financially after a divorce—in fact, some studies done claim that it can take up to 5 years before a person regains their former financial equilibrium. 

But there are some tips you can use to help make that time pass a bit more smoothly! Some things you can try include: 

• Applying for Government Assistance
• Starting a New Side Hustle
• Making a Budget
• Learning a New Skill
• Taking Time to Heal Emotionally 

In the following sections, we’ll talk about these things more in-depth and hopefully get you one step closer to getting back on your feet.

Applying for Government Assistance

If you’ve just gone through a divorce and have children that depend on you for their survival, you qualify for government assistance! There are programs out there that are specially designed for single mothers, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. 

This government program provides funds to states and territories in the form of grants to provide families with financial assistance and other related support services. Each state dictates its own programs, and the money provided may be use to help pay for things like childcare assistance, job preparation, and work assistance.

To apply for this program, applicants must be both a US citizen as well as a resident of the state in which they are applying. You must also be unemployed or underemployed and meet specific low-income limits.

You also must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Have a child 18 years of age or younger, or
  • Be pregnant, or
  • Be 18 years of age or younger and the head of your household.

If you qualify, you may be able to receive immediate short-term help that provides monthly financial support to aid you in covering the costs of housing, food, clothing, or anything else you need to keep your family running as smoothly as possible as you all adjust to your new lives. 

While not a permanent solution, many families have utilized TANF benefits to help them get back on their feet. To apply, find your local state office and check with them for more specific information–which you can start by clicking here.

TANF is only one of many assistance programs that single moms can utilize to help them get back on their feet. For more programs that can provide crucial help, check out our guide to assistance and grants for single mothers.

Starting a New Side Hustle

With gig jobs steadily gaining traction in our workforce, there are a lot of options out there for picking up a side hustle if you’re trying to make some extra cash. 

Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft allow you to drive people around in your car on your schedule, meaning you can easily drive while your kids are in school or at night after they go to sleep. They also have cash-out options where you can access your funds immediately if you need to, making them great options if you need money in a pinch. 

And if transporting people isn’t your thing, you could always try delivering food with apps like DoorDash and GrubHub. Another option is to try freelancing and offering services on online marketplaces like Upwork. You can offer services like administrative support, writing, proofreading, editing, graphic design, and much more!

If you’re really strapped for cash and know some other parents, you could also consider babysitting. If you’re an animal lover, you could also think about pet sitting and dog walking as potential side jobs. Apps such as Rover or Wag! are platforms that connect potential sitters with clients and can help you get started pretty easily! 

Making a Budget

Perhaps the smartest thing you can do after a divorce is make changes to your monthly budget to help you stay within your means. Changing your spending habits can seem like an impossible task, but with the right mindset, it is doable! Budgeting wisely enough can help you make ends meet as well as help you put money towards paying off any debts you still owe.

Luckily, even if you don’t think you’re mentally equipped enough to sit down and write out a budget, there are several budgeting apps out there that can help you! Apps such as Mint, GoodBudget, and EveryDollar help you break down your monthly expenses and put them into specific categories so you can see exactly where your money is going every month and can allocate your funds appropriately. 

Some of them come with small monthly fees to get the most from them, but apps like Mint offer great budgeting services for free!

In addition, making and sticking to a budget can help you build up and strengthen your credit score — which is crucial if you’re looking to get back on your feet as a single mother.

Learning a New Skill

If you’ve been out of the workforce for some time, it can be pretty difficult to secure a new job and start working again. However, divorce is often a time of starting fresh, and that can be equally as true in your professional life as it is in your personal one. 

If you’re hoping to kickstart a new career, the best way to do so would be to take time to learn a new profitable skill. Learning new skills can help boost your resume to potential employers and make it much easier to secure a new job. Some skills can even help you start lucrative careers that you can do remotely!

Some examples of high-income skills that you can learn include things like coding, sales, copywriting, digital marketing, web design, and much more.

Taking Time to Heal Emotionally

Sure, your financial life and getting back on your feet in that regard is important for moving forward in your life after a divorce. But what’s equally important is making sure you take the time you need for yourself to heal emotionally. People’s entire worlds can be turned upside down by a divorce, with many marriages ending with anger and resentment on both sides, as well a lot of hurt. 

It may be scary to think about going through life alone again after a marriage ends, but it is doable! Emotional wounds may take more time and effort to heal than financial ones, but it’s important the mental well-being of both you and your child to make caring for yourself a priority. 

To that end, you may want to consider talking with friends or getting into therapy to help you vent your frustrations. It may even be helpful to find a local support group to help you connect with others in your community going through the same thing you are. While divorce may be a lonely experience, you don’t have to go through it alone! 

Conclusion

Starting over again after a divorce can be a terrifying and overwhelming concept, especially after spending so much time in a committed relationship with another person. There are so many things that need to find new life in order for you to move on with yours, and one of those things is figuring out how to recover financially. 

To that end, there are a few options you can take to help make the process as smooth as possible—including getting a side hustle, learning a new skill, or applying for some extra financial assistance from the government. 

No matter what course of action you take, know that it’s even more important that you take the time to address any emotional wounds you may have regarding your situation and truly try to heal mentally. In the end, money comes and goes, but how you feel about yourself is a constant state of being. 

Try your best to stay positive about your new situation and remember that life isn’t necessarily about how you get knocked down, but how often you can get back up again! 

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