Getting Divorced When You Are a Stay-at-Home Mom
When you have dedicated most of your time to raising children, career advancement and financial security become less of a priority. Many stay-at-home parents rely on their spouse’s income to pay bills and cover everyday expenses. When divorce occurs, it can be difficult for a stay-at-home parent to adjust to life without this income.
Many stay-at-home parents also worry about how the divorce will affect their children. Will they be forced to move? Will the children need to change schools? Who will receive the majority of the parenting time and parental responsibilities after the split? These are just some of the many questions stay-at-home moms contend with during a divorce.
Child Custody Issues in an Illinois Divorce
Divorcing parents are asked to create a parenting plan that describes each parent's decision-making authority and parenting time schedule. If the parents cannot reach a decision, the court decides on these issues.
Stay-at-home mothers are not guaranteed to receive custody of their children in Illinois divorces. The court considers the "best interests" of the child when deciding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time arrangements. Factors such as the age of the child, the wishes of the parents, each parent’s relationship with the child, and other factors will be taken into consideration when making this determination. Because children spend so much time with stay-at-home parents, it is likely that a stay-at-home mother would be favored during any custody dispute. However, the situation is rarely this black and white.
Spousal Maintenance for Stay-at-Home Mothers
The reality of the situation is that stay-at-home moms are often at a major financial disadvantage during a divorce. However, some may be entitled to spousal maintenance, also called alimony. Maintenance payments are based on a statutory formula that uses both parties' incomes. The duration of maintenance payments is usually based on the length of the marriage.
Child Support Payments in an Illinois Divorce
The parent with less parenting time is typically required to pay child support to the parent with more parenting time. So, if a stay-at-home mother has a greater share of parenting time, she will receive financial assistance in the form of child support. Child support obligations are based on both parents' net incomes. Support payments are intended to help cover child-related costs such as healthcare, education expenses, and daily living costs.
Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer
Navigating a divorce can be difficult for any parent. However, stay-at-home moms should be especially aware of their rights and seek qualified legal representation. Call our Kane County divorce attorneys today at 630-584-5550 and set up a free consultation.