Hiring an attorney who is passionate about protecting Norwalk families with expert legal assistance is the first step when getting a divorce, but it’s not the last step. Going from a two-adult household to a one-adult household comes with a lot of pressure, especially if you’re relying on just one income.
It’s helpful to know what resources are available when you live in Connecticut so you can come out the other side of your divorce strong and independent.
Finding affordable housing can be a huge challenge after separating from a partner. Don’t rush into an apartment or a house payment that is more than your budget can afford. Instead, look into rental help.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers services that could help you get a reduced rent if you’re considered low-income.
There are a variety of other programs you can look into as well that include:
- The Rental Assistance Program (RAP)
- Connecticut Housing Choice Voucher Program
- The Connecticut Fair Housing Caenter
- Federal Tax Credit Rental Housing
Even if you know you want to eventually end up buying a home, it’s still a good idea to find low-cost housing first. It enables you to save up a little money, it gives you time to realistically assess your situation, and it gives you a chance to clarify your budget.
Paying for utilities like gas, electricity, and water can be a big challenge if you’re going through a divorce and you have a small budget. It can be especially costly in the winter when heating bills skyrocket.
Fortunately, there are programs that provide utility assistance to residents throughout Connecticut. For example, the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is associated with a federally funded program. It is available between November 1st and April 30th every year and offers bill payment and energy crisis assistance. The program also offers weatherization and energy-related home repair services to help keep costs low.
You may also be able to work with the utility companies directly. Ask if they have a bill-pay program that can help break down monthly bills into more manageable payments.
Managing a new, smaller budget after a divorce often means less money for food. Local food banks are a great option for those who need to fill their cupboards, but there are other ways to get free food when you don’t have a lot of money.
Local bakeries and even some family-run restaurants are willing to give away what’s left at the end of the night instead of throwing it all out. Shelters and churches often host free dinners, especially around the holidays.
There are a ton of free apps that can help you get free food too. From cashback apps to becoming a mystery diner and zero-waste apps, there are a lot of creative ways you can find free or heavily discounted food near where you live.
Dividing a household usually means dividing your stuff, which can make moving into a new place tricky. It can be an even bigger challenge when you have children, as they’ll need clothing, toys, and other items in two locations.
Buying everything brand new can cost a fortune. It’s a much better idea to hit up local thrift stores. Many have kids clothes that haven’t even been worn. It’s also a great place to find kitchen items, like plates and silverware, as well as furniture, like dressers and end tables.
You can also find organizations that are willing to donate basic items to those in need. For example, you can probably find a local diaper bank that will give you diapers for free. Some also offer feminine hygiene products for free. Many church groups and other organizations also offer a wide range of donated items when you reach out and ask.
Getting a divorce sometimes means giving up a shared vehicle, which can make getting around extremely difficult. If you’re short on cash, you can find ride-sharing programs, as well as medical appointment transportation options. You may even be able to find bicycle-sharing programs that allow you to borrow and ride a bike for free.
Local buses and rail transportation systems are a great option too. Although they aren’t free, they are a more affordable alternative to calling an Uber or buying a new car.
Mental Health Support
Getting a divorce can bring up difficult feelings. It can cause you to focus on what you’ve lost and rehash hurtful events that led to your divorce in the first place. Working through your feelings can be extremely helpful, but therapy can be expensive.
There is a free mental health hotline available to Connecticut residents, with other national hotlines available where you can get non-judgmental support as you go through your divorce.
There is a wide variety of other programs available to Connecticut residents as well. From general counseling services to domestic violence and substance abuse services, you can find free mental health support that will help you get through your divorce.
Friends and Family
There are a lot of community-, state-, and federally-funded programs out there that can help you get through your divorce, but don’t discount the help that your friends and family have to offer.
The biggest challenge is being brave enough to reach out for help. Your friends and family want to be there for you just like you would want to be there for them if they were going through a divorce. Don’t be afraid to ask for a place to stay, ask if you can come over for dinner, or see if they can help you run errands.
There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help getting back on your feet after a divorce. Whether you need a place to live or you simply need help finding the essentials for your new place, the tips on this list will help you get what you need to start a new, better chapter of your life.