Should Stay-At-Home-Parents Be Nervous about Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on September 07, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerWhen a married couple has children, they might find it difficult to juggle their work schedules and their household obligations. It can be tricky figuring out how to drop your children off at school, pick them up in the afternoon, and manage to get all your work done in between.

Some spouses might decide that one of them will take on more of the family’s financial responsibilities, while the other will handle more of the family’s other needs. This means that one parent can commit themselves to working hard and moving up in their career, or getting professional or educational training, while the other parent will become a “stay-at-home” parent, making sure the household keeps running. When it comes to getting a divorce, this can create some trouble, but an Illinois family law attorney can help.

Why Would Someone Choose to Be a Stay-At-Home Parent?

When one person is in charge of the drop-offs, pick-ups, cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, making sure kids get to all their appointments and after-school activities, and countless other household tasks, it can be so time-consuming that they simply cannot hold down a typical job. On the other hand, when all of those important tasks are taken care of by someone else, it is much easier for the working parent to focus on their job.

This division of responsibility helps many families find the right balance for them. However, if the parents are considering divorce, the stay-at-home parent might be worried about how they would be able to make ends meet. Not only have they not worked and earned “their own” money for a period of time, they also have not gained professional experience or networking contacts, and if they needed to join the workforce now, they might find themselves at a disadvantage.

Equitable Division vs. Equal Division

Illinois is known as an “equitable division” state, meaning that when a couple gets divorced, the courts focus on dividing up any assets they have in an equitable, or fair, way rather than an equal way. In other words, the courts take into account how valuable the stay-at-home parent’s contribution has been, for the family’s children as well as their finances.

How Does Asset Division Work for Stay-At-Home Parents?

In general, a couple going through divorce can divide up their assets any way they want, as long as both people agree. If they have a premarital agreement, that is also generally honored, and the division of assets is decided accordingly. But if they want to have this settled in court, the court will take many factors into consideration:

  • How a spouse contributed to the other spouse’s career or education
  • Whether one spouse was a stay-at-home parent and raised the couple’s children
  • Each spouse's income and earning power
  • Whether there is a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement 
  • Each spouse’s education
  • Whether one spouse has a disability that prevents them from going back to work

What all this means is that if you are a stay-at-home mom and you have been avoiding divorce even though it may be the right move for you because you are not sure how you would manage financially, you should definitely think again. The State of Illinois recognizes what you have been doing at home and generally works to make sure people like you get the share of assets they deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Kane Country, IL Family Law Attorney

If you are a stay-at-home mom considering divorce, you owe it to yourself to hear what all of your options are. You might even find out that this is a great choice for you financially, as well as emotionally. An experienced St. Charles, IL divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group will be able to explain your options. We offer free consultations, so call 630-584-4800 today.

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