By the time you actually decide to end your marriage, odds are that you have been pondering the ramifications of divorce for quite a while. Questions surrounding divorce typically encompass the difficult task of telling children what is happening and of informing friends and family of the news, all the while trying to maintain a cool head when dealing with your spouse.
But for the stay-at-home mom facing divorce, other questions quickly surface:
- Will the fact that you do not work affect your ability to gain child custody?
- Will you be able to receive spousal support? How long will it last?
While approaching divorce for a stay-at-home-mom may seem like climbing an Everest-like mountain, Wallin & Klarich is here to help you through this stressful experience.
Child Custody for the Stay-At-Home-Mom
Child custody is perhaps the most important issue you will face during a divorce when you have minor children. In California, child custody (when decided by the court) is determined by assessing what is in the best interest of the child. This means the court considers the age, health, safety and welfare of the child, regardless of your employment status.1
Spousal Support and Looking for Work
Spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony, can be both a blessing and a source of frustration for a stay-at-home-mom facing divorce. While you may have relied on the income of your spouse before the divorce, you may not have the same amount of financial assistance following the divorce.
Spousal support is assigned when one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other, as a way of maintaining the “standard of living” established during the marriage. When divorce proceedings begin, a judge may assign temporary spousal support using a basic formula to calculate the amount.2 However, at the end of your case the judge will use a multitude of factors in order to calculate the amount for the final spousal support order. These factors include:
- The length of your marriage;
- You and your spouse’s age and health;
- Assets and debts;
- What each person requires to maintain the standard of living; and
- What each person can pay or earn to maintain the standard of living3
These last two factors have a particularly big impact on stay-at-home moms. Since you were not working during the marriage, the judge may first assign a spousal support amount which covers many basic needs. Keep in mind, though, that the goal is to provide support for a reasonable amount of time so that you can begin to support yourself. This means that in most cases you should not expect the support to last forever.
In fact, as the role of women in the workforce has changed over the last few decades, so have court expectations about the use of alimony to support former stay-at-home-moms. Judges expect you to make a serious effort to find employment and begin to support yourself.4
Spousal support may be denied entirely if the court believes that you are able to earn sufficient income to maintain your standard of living, if you have made no effort to become self-sufficient, or have property or assets which can provide support.5 This makes it vital that you have a divorce attorney fighting for you in court, and that you be proactive about your work and finances after your divorce is finalized.6
Call a Wallin & Klarich Divorce Attorney Today
If you are a stay-at-home-mom facing divorce, you need an attorney who will fight for you during every step of the divorce process. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled family law attorneys have been successfully representing our clients in family law and divorce matters for over 30 years.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help you no matter your location.
Call us at (888) 749-7428 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.