Stay-at-Home Parents and Divorce: Asking for Spousal Support

 Posted on November 10, 2016 in Alimony / Maintenance

Kane County divorce lawyerIf you have spent the last several years as a stay-at-home parent but are now facing an impending divorce, you may be wondering how your life is going to change. By their very nature, stay-at-home moms and dads rely on their partners to provide for the family financially, leaving them at a potentially serious disadvantage following a divorce. Fortunately, there are options available for stay-at-home parents to help alleviate the financial impact of a divorce, and a qualified family lawyer can help you explore them all.

Spousal Maintenance

One of the primary tools that the court may use to help a stay-at-home parent in divorce is maintenance, also known known as alimony. Under Illinois law, maintenance may be ordered following the end of a marriage if the court finds that there is a legitimate need by one spouse. There are many factors that the court must take into account when making a determination regarding spousal support, and your status as a stay-at-home parent is not sufficient by itself to force the court to order maintenance payments.

The law requires the court to look at all of the relevant circumstances of your marriage and divorce, including:

  • Your contributions as a stay-at-home parent to the well-being of the family;
  • Your ability to earn income following the divorce and the appropriateness of you doing so due to parenting arrangements for your children;
  • The standard of living established in your marriage;
  • How long you were married; and
  • Whether you were awarded additional marital property in place of receiving ongoing maintenance payments.

Unique Considerations

Stay-at-home parenting situation can differ greatly from family to family, and your situation will be analyzed carefully by the court when you ask for maintenance. For example, if you simply took a year or two away from work to reconsider your career options while your child was very young and you and your spouse lived off of your savings, spousal maintenance may be possible but not guaranteed. Conversely, if you have been home raising several children for a decade or more while relying on your spouse’s fairly substantial income, maintenance would be more likely.  

There are countless variables that affect each family’s ability to have one parent stay at home with the children, and each of them could play a role in the court’s ultimate decision on awarding maintenance. To learn more about spousal maintenance laws in Illinois and how they may apply to your particular situation, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-584-4800 for a free consultation at Goostree Law Group today.





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