I used to be a stay-at-home mum, but I'm going through a divorce. Is there any advice on how I can make it as a single working mum? - Seedly

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Asked by Anonymous

Asked on 21 Nov 2018

I used to be a stay-at-home mum, but I'm going through a divorce. Is there any advice on how I can make it as a single working mum?

I have about 10k of savings, and will be staying with my brother temporarily. He has his own family, so I don't want to take up his space for too long. My daughter is turning 4, and I currently only have a diploma in Business Admin

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hi I'm very sorry to hear about that. Hope things are ok between you and husband and most of all, your daughter. More love, care and concern might be needed to shower upon your daugher. :)

First and foremost, discuss with your husband about monthly maintenance for yourself and your daughter. If he's not co-operating, then go to Family Court Singapore to file for case and they will call for mediations and the judge will make sure you and daughter get maintenance.

(A) For own place to stay, explore:

HDB helping single parent household to rent a flat at very low rent from HDB (will be old flat but can be a temporary measures until you get a job with more stable and affordable income) : https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/hdbspeaks/helping-single-parent-households

More details:https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/public-rental-scheme/eligibility

After you've stable down and make more $, can consider move out and rent a better room (market rate about $650 to $800) since your daughter might prefer to sleep with mummy and if your maintenance allow, then rent a HDB 3 room flat with 2 bedrooms at about 1.4k to 1.8k per month)

(B) For future income / living expenses, explore:

In 2017, NTUC launch "returner work trial" to help single parent where government pay parts of the salary for 6 months to allow single parent to plug the hole in resume to rejoin workforce:

https://www.ntuc.org.sg/wps/portal/up2/home/news/mediareleases/mediareleasesdetails?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/Content_Library/ntuc/home/about%20ntuc/newsroom/media%20releases/f06f9709-ff5b-466f-b415-7f0dfb171b19

news about it:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/manpower/new-scheme-to-help-stay-at-home-mums-relaunch-their-careers

Applications, FAQ and factsheet:

https://e2i.com.sg/businesses/returner-work-trial/

(C) Childcare when you go to work:

Can consider putting your daugher to children centre if you haven't since you're a previous stay home mum. Many subsidies and fundings available for divorced single mum since your household nuclears is only you and daughter, means income is less than or about 2.5k will entitle for maximum benefits. (eg. PCF or MyFirstSkool or E-Bridge, their school fees is close to SGD800 monthly. With maximum subsidies (if your household income is 2.5 to 3k, you only pay about $80+ a month after all the subsidies).

Added benefits is that since your daughter is already 4 years old, so going to pre-school will allow her to learn more social skill, learn how to get along with other kids, sharing etc.

Finally, I want to say, it's not the end of the world. You and daughter still have a bright future waiting for both of you. There's assisntant scheme and help as shared above to help you come back to workforce, manage childcare. In the future, just be careful when meeting guy and may you meet a good guy and father to be your future husband and be father of your daughter. You can still have a happy complete family :)

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Yixiong Chang
Yixiong Chang
Top Contributor

Top Contributor (Dec)

Level 5. Genius
Answered on 25 Nov 2018

I am sorry to hear what u are going through.

I think your current focus should be on your divorce matters. Once u have settle the auxillary matters then u will have a better picture of your financial situation.

You only mentioned u are going through a divorce, I'm not sure which stage are u at now. Have u already received the interim order, and care and control of your child is with u? (from how u wrote your daughter is staying with u?).

Make sure both parties are able to agree upon reasonable division of matrimonial assets and maintenance for u and your child. I assume care and control had been agreed to be given to u? (Custody is usually joint custody). Once that is settled, u have know how much money u can get (if your matrimonial home will be sold etc). That will help u to decide which rentals u can go for etc.

You might want to consider going to your MP for help. Depending on your ward, some MP might be better in helping certain areas. They will be in better position to direct u to the relevant government agencies for assistance. Most of the times with their referral, certain processes can be expedited. (rent HDB, job search assistance, child care etc)

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Casey Choo
Casey Choo

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Level 3. Wonderkid
Answered on 26 Nov 2018

Can't say I would know how you're feeling or what you're going through, but what I can say is don't let your education stop you from providing the best for your daughter!

The bad times WILL past and when it does, it'd be worth it.

That said, a diploma in Business Admin is good enough to get you in certain doors. Presumably since you've taken a few years off work, I'd suggest looking at utitising your SkillsFuture credits to semi get you back on track!

Good luck!

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Elsa Goh
Elsa Goh
Top Contributor

Top Contributor (Oct)

Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019

First and foremost, I suggest you try to get a lawyer. If you cant afford, try legal aid bureau. Lawyers are qualified to advise you best. Below are my suggestions only, pls do your owb calculations. With that in mind:

  1. Get custody of your daughter.

  2. Tell the judge you need a place to raise your daughter. Therefore, u need the flat to be transferred to you. Note got 2 options under cpf for property - sale versus a mere transfer. Here i am talking about transfer, not sale. Transfer other than by way of sale means you dont have to come up with money for buying over his share of the flat. This is possible subj to hdb and cpf approval. It is a bit complicated so you may want to look at cpf website. If possible, try to get ex husband to pay all future loan instalments, and make his own refunds to cpf.

If he is unable to refund cpf, you can also have the house transferred to you without having to make cpf refunds to ur husbands cpf (subject to cpf and hdb approval). But in the future if u sell again, cpf refunds need to be made to your own account. Amount to refund will be both u and ur husbands unrefunded cpf, WITH interest.

EDIT: i found the cpf link. Look under division of cpf-related assets in matrimonial proceedings. https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Members/FAQ/schemes/other-matters/others

  1. Monthly maintenance for you and your daughter. Alternatively, ask the judge to require ex spouse to bear your daughters' education fees until tertiary level. That will be another load off your mind.

  2. If you're forced to choose between having a monthly maintenance and having the flat transferred to you WITHOUT or with MINIMAL OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES (e.g. ex spouse will bear the loan instalments), suggest you take the flat instead of maintenance. The importance of having a secure place to stay CANNOT be underestimated. If you end up not having a residence, you will need to set aside money every month for either rental or servicing instalments on your own flat, and that will just eat up any monthly maintenance u will get.

Not only that, rental, while cheap, is basically money spent that you will never see again. That is unlike a flat which you can sell some time in the future. You are not accumulating assets at all - you are basically just spending money just to have somewhere to rest your head. Plus you are at the MERCY OF THE LANDLORD who will DEFINITELY increase rental cos of sg's property market now. There will be no feeling of security and you will constantly be worrying at the back of your mind about potentially losing your home.

All the best.

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Elsa Goh
Elsa Goh

26 Nov 2018

I wanna add on: apply for government job. Stable working hours, and they are more sympathetic to family needs. Private companies generally dont give u that kind of consideration.
Loh Tat Tian
Loh Tat Tian
Top Contributor

Top Contributor (Jan)

Level 6. Master
Answered on 21 Nov 2018

I ca't say much, but can only briefly share what my mum did (situation is different, dad was in hospital). You may not wish to follow certain steps as they may cause you more issues. I will highlight them as i go along.

(1) She first went to borrow from friends and relatives for the 3 months expenses. (not advisable since its unsustainable but if cashflow is an issue, no choice).

(2) Went to look for jobs, any kind of jobs as she is lowly educated. She went to work in fastfood outlets to make ends meet. Since you have a diploma, you should have an easier time looking for 1, hopefully.

(3) My allowance was cut in half. My sister and I was asked to make do with whatever we have. Lucky me, I didn't think too much as i use what i have only. (and if there is more, just save them). Just meant no savings.

I hope you can find strength in how you going to manage. Some suggestions only...

  1. look for a room to rent with your daughter. Preferably nearer to a childcare centre, or someone who can take care of your daughter.
  1. See if anyone can take care of your daughter for you because sending to a childcare can easliy cost $600 etc. not very cheap in this instance.
  1. All the best and see who else can give you suggestions.

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