Will I receive alimony if I am a divorced stay-at-home mom?
Stay-at-home parents make the noble choice of leaving their careers to be home with their children during their formative years. Any stay-at-home parent or spouse of a stay-at-home parent knows that raising children is perhaps the most challenging job of all. While most stay-at-home parents would not trade their time with their children for anything, the stay-at-home parent is particularly vulnerable in the event of a divorce. Stay-at-home parents, who are generally women, may not find it easy to enter the workplace after such a long absence and evolving divorce laws have made it far harder for stay-at-home parents to receive alimony. Our Southfield, Michigan divorce lawyers discuss the unique issues facing stay-at-home parents during a divorce below.
Seeking Alimony as a Stay-at-Home Parent
Perhaps the greatest concern for divorcing stay-at-home parents is finances. As a stay-at-home parent, you have sacrificed your own career advancement for your family. While the decision to have one parent leave the workforce is a mutual one, it is the stay-at-home parent that ends up at risk of financial struggles after a divorce. Traditionally, alimony has been used as a means of evening the playing field for the stay-at-home parent post-divorce.
Alimony consists of payments made from the payor spouse to the recipient spouse. Alimony can be agreed to in divorce settlements or ordered by the court. While alimony used to be awarded as a matter of course to the lesser earning spouse, now it has become harder to receive an award of alimony.
Michigan courts will weigh several factors to determine whether a spouse is entitled to spousal support. Relevant factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- The conduct of the parties and past relations
- The abilities of the parties to work
- The ability of the parties to pay alimony
- What property each spouse will receive in the divorce
- The health and needs of the parties
- The prior standard of living of the parties
- General equity principals
Even if you are awarded spousal support, the award will rarely be permanent. A Michigan divorce judge has the discretion to limit the length of the alimony award. Further, alimony can be terminated at any time that the other spouse can demonstrate a showing of change of circumstances. For these reasons, it is critical that stay-at-home parents retain the assistance of an aggressive divorce lawyer who will fight for their award of spousal support and fair division of property.