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Divorce for Stay-At-Home Parents


If you are a stay-at-home parent and are considering divorce or know that your spouse plans to file for divorce, the future can feel uncertain. Given that your primary job for many years has been to stay at home in order to raise your children, financial matters can seem daunting, and the prospect of finding a job or returning to a career can produce uncertainty. It is important to remember that many stay-at-home parents get divorced and go on to live happy and successful lives. In the present, we know how difficult the process can seem, and we want to discuss some key issues that often affect stay-at-home parents in Florida divorces. The following is a list of a few things you should know.

  1. Contributions to Your Family Are Taken Into Account in Dividing Marital Property

In Florida, marital property is divided during a divorce according to a theory of equitable distribution. While most property acquired by either spouse during the marriage will be considered marital property and thus subject to division, many stay-at-home parents worry that the other parent will end up getting more of the property since she or he provided the funding for it.

It is important to know that Florida’s equitable distribution law considers numerous factors in distributing marital property, including factors that benefit the stay-at-home parent such as:

  • Contribution to the marriage by each spouse;
  • Economic circumstances of the parties; and
  • Contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
  1. You May Be Eligible to Receive Alimony

Florida alimony law allows one spouse to seek multiple forms of alimony, including:

  • Bridge-the-gap alimony;
  • Rehabilitative alimony;
  • Durational alimony; and/or
  • Permanent alimony.

Eligibility for alimony depends upon the financial circumstances of the party seeking alimony. Accordingly, if one spouse was a stay-at-home parent and has no individual earnings, alimony often will be appropriate. 

  1. Child Support Takes Into Account Differences in Parent Income and Overnights

Florida uses what is known as an “income shares” model for calculating child support, which takes into account the combined incomes of both parents to determine a total child support obligation. Then, the percentage of the obligation paid by each parent depends on a number of factors, including the parent’s individual income and total number of “overnights” with the child.

If you have your children for a majority of “overnights” after the divorce is final—in other words, if you are the primary custodial parent—(not sure if we should use the “primary custodial parent” language as Florida has done away with the terms primary and secondary parent) Florida’s child support law says that the other parent usually must pay more. Accordingly, if a formerly stay-at-home parent has the child for more overnights than the parent who was the primary breadwinner or earner during the marriage, the formerly stay-at-home parent is likely to receive money from the other parent for child support. This is especially true if the formerly stay-at-home parent earns less than the other parent.

Contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about property division, alimony, or what kind of child support payments you may expect from the other parent, an Orlando divorce lawyer can help. Contact Anderson & Ferrin today to speak with an advocate at our firm.




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