How Does A Stay At Home Parent Protect Themselves In A Divorce

The decision for you and your spouse was for you to stay home and raise the kids. This is a noble and very important job. The alternative is not attractive to parents who want to be the sole caregiver to their children. Leaving the children to grandparents, nannys, babysitters while two parents work fulltime is probably not how you imagined it to be. So one of you took the position of giving up aspirations of a career and turned your focus to the rearing of the children. Again, very important. If one income can sustain the family and lavish extras are not the norm values all the better for the time being.

As one parent stays home and takes care of the home and all the domestic responsibilities the household can run like a fine tuned machine.  With the divorce rate up to 50% the reality is this fine tuned machine doesn’t always last until the children get to college, nor does it last until the children hit middle school.  Stay at home parents need to protect themselves in a divorce situation.  According to research conducted at The Gottman Institute, there are two significant times when the marriage may crumble and dissolve. Early divorce happens around the 6th year of marriage and the 16th year of marriage. 50% is a high percentage and that means half of the marriages will be split. The dilemma is the moms or the dads that have been home raising the kids and have been out of the workforce for a number of years. When divorce is inevitable and one household now becomes two household, now what? This transition causes much anxiety for the “at home parent”. As mediators we try to find a solution to the household finances that can sustain the “at home parent” but it is not always feasible, not for the long haul.

Those who decide to stay home and with the other spouse’s equal agreement leave yourselves vulnerable to the possibility that one day you will have to return to work and earn a decent income in order to survive and care for yourself and half the expenses of your children.

Our suggestion to those of you who are at home and perhaps your marriage is in the 50% range of being successful (or not), is to get back into the mindset of courses, skills, resources of any kind, in order for you to have the leverage you need in order to provide for yourself no matter what.  You have to admit there is free time during the day, evening and weekends that you can get away and take courses to earn a degree or higher degree from what you may already have. We hope your marriage stays intact but for the bigger picture being prepared to manage a professional role will never be a waste of time.

Please Contact us for a FREE consultation to help you with your divorce or to make sure you are protected.

Dana and Don, are co-founders of The Mediation and Family Counseling Group.   We can be reached at, or 1-888-281-2725.



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