Divorce outcomes vary for stay-at-home moms

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

Families in Missouri with a stay-at-home mother may have unique concerns during a divorce. Approximately 25 percent of American mothers raise children at home, compared to 7 percent of American fathers. These include around 10 percent of mothers with a master’s degree or more who have left the workplace in order to raise their children. In general, becoming a stay-at-home mother is a family decision that both parents feel is better for their child. The support of a spouse at home can help the other partner to excel at work and dedicate more hours to the job in a way that would be impossible if the stay-at-home parent was also pursuing a high-powered career.

Over half of Americans support this choice, seeing mothers as better caregivers for new babies than child care professionals or even the babies’ fathers. For couples that can afford it – or those that cannot afford child care – having a stay-at-home parent may be almost a foregone conclusion. In the vast majority of cases, that will be the mother. When it is time for divorce, however, the disparity between the working parent and the one at home can lead to resentments and bitter arguments over property division and spousal support.

Missouri is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property must be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. This can lead to a number of different results, depending on divorce negotiations, the perspectives of the divorcing spouse and the value accorded to the caregiving provided by the stay-at-home parent.

The financial effects of divorce can persist long after the emotional and practical issues have been addressed. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to seek out a fair settlement on a range of legal matters, including property division and alimony.

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