The financial ramifications of divorce can be significant. They can dictate which assets you’ll have to work with once your marriage dissolution is complete, and they can specify what kind of support, if any, you’ll receive when all is said and done.
But if you’ve been a stay-at-home dad, then you might be worried about what the future has in store for you. After all, re-entering the job market post-divorce may be challenging given all the experience that you gave up to care for your family, and the lack of income that you might have could make it difficult to start the next chapter of your life.
Can you recover spousal support as a stay-at-home dad?
Yes. Our state laws pertaining to alimony are gender-neutral. Therefore, as long as you can demonstrate that a spousal support award is justified, then you’re qualified to receive it. But what do you have to show in order to obtain alimony from your spouse? If you and your spouse can’t negotiate a resolution on this issue, then the court will do so by taking the following factors into consideration:
- The length of your marriage: The longer your marriage lasted, the more likely you are to recover spousal support. In long-term marriages, the award amount may be higher, too, or you may be able to receive support for a longer period.
- Each spouse’s financial resources: Remember, an alimony award is meant to provide you with support until you can become self-sufficient post-divorce. But if you already have the financial resources to maintain stability independently, then you might have a harder time arguing for alimony. Keep in mind, too, that you’ll have to show that your spouse is capable of making spousal support payments if you hope to receive alimony assistance.
- The marital standard of living: When considering whether spousal support is appropriate, the court is going to see if it can provide both parties with a standard of living that is similar to that which was enjoyed during the course of the marriage. The court may use spousal support to help reach that goal. Therefore, everything from your house to your cars and your vacations may become relevant to prove this aspect of your marital life.
- Marital contributions: The court will also assess what contributions you made to the family and how they may impact your ability to now earn the living that you need to be self-sufficient. Therefore, foregoing a career to raise your children or support your spouse while they developed their own education or career may be beneficial to your argument for alimony.
- Your earnings capacity: Since much of the focus in this matter is going to be on your ability to support yourself, the court is going to look at your education, experience, and likely income to determine if you need support and, if so, how much support you’ll need once your divorce is finalized.
Are you ready to advocate for what you deserve?
Far too many stay-at-home dads feel ashamed to ask for spousal support. Don’t be. The law exists the way it does for a reason. Those who have made significant sacrifices and as a result will face financial hardship post-divorce deserve to be able to seek out the help that they need, even if it’s in the form of a spousal support order.
However, given the stakes involved in these matters, you’re likely going to face strong opposition at the negotiation table, in court, or both. Therefore, before you enter the divorce arena, it may be helpful for you to have a solid plan that you’ve developed with an attorney who is experienced in handling these matters.
Hopefully, then you’ll have the strategy that you need to find success and move into the next chapter of your life with the financial stability that you deserve.