Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Can Protect Their Rights Following Divorce
As a parent undergoing divorce, you have your work cut out for you. Not only do you need to address the legal technicalities of the split in the midst of experiencing the grieving process, you also need to tackle all the issues that accompany the end of a marriage, including everything from the division of assets and parenting time (visitation), to parenting plans and inventory of your personal finances. For the stay-at-home parent, divorce requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, which can trigger a number of concerns for the spouse who has been the primary caregiver at home.
Safeguarding Your Rights as a Stay-at-Home Parent
The idea that the stay-at-home parent will be able to continue to live the lifestyle they were originally accustomed to prior to the divorce is sadly not always a realistic one. While there are laws that vary from state to state that allow certain protections for the stay-at-home spouse, the parent’s lifestyle will inevitably change as their financial circumstances evolve due to the divorce. Parents used to staying home to raise their children can still make the effort to safeguard their rights during the transition in the following ways:
Explore the possibility of maintenance - Here in the state of Illinois, the law may entitle you to maintenance (alimony), which is sometimes awarded to account for a significant difference in income and earnings between spouses. The amount you may be eligible for and the length of time you may receive the award is determined by a mathematical formula and factors summarized in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/504). The court will look at everything from the current and future earning capacity of each spouse, joint property and assets, and the needs of each spouse, to the standard of living that was established during the marriage and how long the union lasted. Exploring your eligibility for maintenance can help you plan, prepare, and protect your financial well-being
Assess your assets - In order to protect your livelihood after your divorce, you need to first get a clear snapshot of what your finances currently look like. This will help you gauge what you are walking into after the divorce, and help you know what needs to be addressed when consulting with your attorney. Take stock of everything from your mortgage and car title to basic monthly expenses and debts, and also jot down any potential employment options as well as educational pursuits you may explore, which may incur additional expenses on your behalf.
Brush up on Illinois child support laws - As of 2016, there were a number of changes to Illinois family law pertaining to child support and custody. For example, the law now allocates specific responsibilities to each parent and has eliminated sole or joint custody. The non-residential parent (formerly the non-custodial parent) will be responsible to pay you, the residential parent, child support based on calculation percentages set forth by Illinois law. To arm yourself with the resources necessary to protect your child’s best interest, brush up on the latest state child support and custody laws with your divorce attorney. Doing so will not only protect your child’s well being, it will also protect you, as a former stay-at-home parent, in terms of your rights with your children and your ability to care for them financially.
Your lifestyle as a stay-at-home parent may change following your divorce, but you may be entitled to a number of rights that allow you the security and peace of mind you need to move into the next phase of your life. Speak with a skilled Kane County divorce lawyer today for guidance and sound legal counsel as you transition from one chapter to the next. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C at 630-584-5550 for a personal consultation.