While times have changed and there is no longer a cultural expectation for a parent—usually a mother—to sacrifice their career and stay home to raise a couple’s children, many couples choose such an arrangement. A stay-at-home parent plays a very important, and often underestimated, role in not only the lives of the children but in the running of the household as well. A divorce, however, can have a significant impact on a stay-at-home parent, as the parent may face serious financial concerns. If you are a stay-at-home parent facing the possibility of a divorce, there are some options that could help minimize the impact of the split.
Maintenance Laws in Illinois
The primary method of helping stay-at-home parents after divorce is called “maintenance” in Illinois law. Also known as alimony or spousal support, maintenance refers to payments made by one spouse to the other following a divorce. Under Illinois law, maintenance is not automatic and it is only awarded when the parties agree to it or the court determines that a need for it exists. You being a stay-at-home parent might be a major consideration, but there are other factors that the court must take into account as well, including:
- Your contributions to the overall well-being of the family, including those you made as a stay-at-home parent and homemaker;
- The extent to which you sacrificed your career;
- Your ability to generate income after the divorce, and whether doing so is appropriate in light of your child custody arrangements;
- The length of your marriage and the lifestyle you enjoyed during the marriage; and
- Whether you received a larger portion of the marital property instead of continuing maintenance payments.
Putting the Pieces Together
There are many different reasons and ways to arrange a stay-at-home parenting situation. How and why you set yours up will be looked at by the court when determining whether to award maintenance. For example, if you were married for about five years and you just recently left your job to care for your first child, spousal support could be possible, but it is not guaranteed. On the other hand, if you got married right out of high school and stayed home for 20 years to raise your children while your spouse progressed quickly through the ranks in his career, your case for maintenance payments would be much stronger.
Contact Us for Help
There are many factors and variables that lead a couple to choose a stay-at-home parenting situation, and every one of them could affect the court’s decision regarding maintenance. If you are facing a divorce and are uncertain about your future, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.