A stay-at-home parent going through a divorce experiences the same anxiety and stress that any other person endures, but with one notable exception: many have been out of work for years, especially if theirs was a long marriage. The stay-at-home parent becomes dependent on the working spouse, and they can face extreme financial and emotional challenges. Here is a discussion of one of the most challenging topics: whether a non-working spouse should find employment during a divorce.
Divorce Challenge: Balancing Work and Childcare
Raising children is difficult, and it is not easy for a parent to hold a job when they’ve been out of work for a prolonged period. Today’s economy is competitive, and many overqualified people are applying for lower-level positions. A college degree is no longer enough to guarantee employment, and a stay-at-home parent may find it very difficult to find a job while caring for children. Family Court Attorneys in Brookhaven consider a variety of factors when working with clients.
The Children’s Ages and Number
The younger the children are, and the more there are, the more difficult it will be for an at-home parent to find a job, keep it and still provide adequate care. Such issues often arise when parents are in their 30s, and one is the breadwinner while the other stays home to provide childcare. When there’s a divorce, sometimes revisionist history is a factor. The stay-at-home parent should understand that the court will consider the children’s needs when determining whether they need to get a job.
The Stay-at-Home Parent’s Qualifications and Skills
Courts must examine the at-home parent’s opportunity and ability to work, and they must determine whether to attribute income. A person who wasn’t out of work for a long time, and who previously held a job, will be regarded differently than a parent who has minimal education and has never had a consistent job.
Should a Stay-at-Home Parent Find a Job?
If a person has the means and the ability to earn an income, and if it won’t severely impact the quality of care the children receive, the answer is a resounding yes. Both parents must support their children. Employment income will likely affect child support, but there are many factors to consider. People in this situation should consult Mitchell M. Shapiro, P.C., family court attorneys in Brookhaven, for advice and strategic help.