The new year is a time associated with new beginnings. Sadly a lot of marriages break down in the time between Christmas and new year. Often parents in unhappy marriages try to hold on for ‘one last Christmas’ and promise themselves a fresh start in the new year.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. A common concern among mothers who want to leave unhappy marriages, is how they will cope with the financial burden of single-motherhood.
It’s not uncommon for women to leave their jobs after having children, and it’s not easy to return to work in the current economy. Thankfully, the UK is a country with a welfare system and financial support is available.
Universal credit is the new benefit everyone has been talking about and should be your first point of contact. You’ll need to check your eligibility for Universal Credit, there are some conditions based on your circumstances.
You may also be entitled to housing benefit and a reduction on your council tax. Depending on your earnings and the benefits you’re entitled to, some energy providers offer a cold weather grant that gives you money off your annual bill. Usually you have until March to apply for this allowance.
Another thing to consider is the amount of maintenance your children’s father will need to pay you. The amount varies depending on how much he earns and how often the children stay overnight with him, but it’s usually around 15% of his salary if you use Child Maintenance Options to work it out. Most fathers (if a little affronted) will want to help provide for their children, but if your ex makes it clear he doesn’t want to, the Child Maintenance Options service will help calculate and arrange payment options.
Housing can be an issue, especially if you need to sell your home. My advice is not to be rash, take your time making your decision (unless you absolutely have to be done in a hurry). When I left my daughter’s father there were slim pickings on the rental property front. Luckily, I only spent about 3 months looking before I found a house that was in a perfect location and at a price I could just about afford. I was stretching myself a little, but the location made up for it and meant if anything happened to my car, I could get my daughter to school and myself to work without much trouble. I was lucky enough to be living with family while I looked, I know not everyone has that luxury.
Some areas have charities that lend single parents enough money for a deposit to help them move in financial difficulty. If you visit your local council for advice they should be able to point you in the right direction if this service is available in your area.
The breakdown of a relationship is difficult at any time. Once you’ve got your finances sorted, make sure you take care of yourself.
If you find yourself in this situation, I wish you all the best for the future. Speaking as someone who has been through it, life does get better.
I wish you all the best for the future!