The Rights of a Stay-At-Home Parent in an Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Divorce can bring unique stress and uncertainty for people who have chosen to assume the valuable role of stay-at-home parent. If you are such a person, you know all too well the worrisome thoughts that hover. How am I going to earn money and be there for my children? Can I even start a career now? How is it fair that my ex-spouse is leaving the marriage with their career intact, while I am entering the job market for the first time?

Each of these concerns is both legitimate and commonplace. Fortunately, Illinois state law (which governs divorce, child support, and spousal support) acknowledges and respects the trade-offs and sacrifices in marriages in which one spouse assumes the role of income earner and the other the role of stay-at-home parent.

Equitable Property Division for the Stay-At-Home Parent

Just because one spouse earned the majority of the income during a marriage, that does not mean that he or she is entitled to all or most of the marital property. Illinois recognizes that stay-at-home parenting is in itself a valuable contribution, representing both a benefit to the well-being of children and a sacrifice of career opportunities.

This contribution is not unlike the equity earned in a home by virtue of years of mortgage payments. That equity, or value, does not disappear just because the marriage has ended. With these considerations in mind, the divorced stay-at-home parent has every right for the work they have put into their family and the sacrifices they have made to be met with a fair and equitable division of marital assets.

Child Support and Spousal Support

If, after divorce, the stay-at-home parent continues to have primary parental responsibility of the couple’s children, it is highly likely that he or she will receive child support from the other parent. Spousal support (also known as maintenance or alimony) may be awarded as well, depending on the duration of the marriage, the age and health of both spouses, the income of the working spouse, and the stay-at-home parent’s potential to resume or begin a career. These financial resources will allow a stay-at-home parent to support themselves and their children as they work to get back on their feet after divorce.

At the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC, we can help you understand your rights as a stay-at-home parent during divorce, and we will work with you to ensure that marital property is divided correctly and help you receive the financial support you need from your former partner. Contact a Winfield divorce lawyer at 630-836-8540 to schedule a free consultation.