Planning For Divorce After Years As a Stay-At-Home Parent / by Cassandra Hearn

Divorce is a watershed moment for any couple. It means an enormous change for any person, and this is especially true for a parent who has spent years staying at home and taking care of the children. Being a stay-at-home parent is challenging and rewarding, but it means less financial independence and can make the prospect of rejoining the workforce daunting. There are certain steps for stay-at-home parents to take to help prepare for divorce and the big changes that come with it.

Even in a longer-term marriage, spousal support is never a guarantee. A stay-at-home parent may be a good candidate for a spousal support award, but a spouse should never rely on it being a definite source of income for years to come. To that end, a stay-at-home spouse needs to start thinking about rejoining the work force. If the spouse needs additional education to help raise earning capacity, an important step is to research career paths and educational requirements. Create a road map of what the next few years will require in order to help raise earning capacity. Parents should not ignore the role that child care will play in their new education or career goals, and keep that in mind when requesting spousal and child support.

Stay-at-home spouses should also attempt to gather an accurate idea of the marital assets and debts. If possible, create a rough outline of the assets that you and your spouse own, as well as what debts you owe. The more definite an idea of your financial state, the better your attorney can help you craft a strategy for your divorce. Do not be concerned if you do not have access to this information, as your attorney will be able to acquire it during a process called discovery.

The stay-at-home parent should also educate him or herself about the basic tenets of child support to help financially plan for what resources will be available for the children following the divorce. The parent should also create a plan for where he or she plans to reside with the children, paying special attention to common geographic restrictions that may make it difficult for a custodial parent to relocate after a final order is entered.

We have extensive experience helping our clients with divorce, and helping stay-at-home parents understand their rights and responsibilities. Call us today at 619-800-0384 for an appointment so we can discuss divorce and your case.