A Stay-at-Home Mom's Rights to Assets in Divorce
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Women have traditionally benefited in some ways from gender bias. They were presumed to need more financial support and divorce assets from their ex-spouses. Courts were more sympathetic to mothers than fathers. Mothers were expected to stay at home and not have their own careers.
However, modern times have changed expectations with respect to mothers, especially those who stay at home. Unless a woman is caring for very young children, motherhood is no longer a reason to stay out of the workforce.
The Family Home
A stay at home mother will most likely be able to persuade a court to grant her residency and ownership in the family home. This is because a stay at home parent most likely spent more time and effort in making the house into a home such as with decorating and child care.
Courts do not like to take children out of their homes and a stay at home parent will have spent more time in the house. That parent would have a credible and compelling argument that because she spent more time there and took care of the domestic matters of the marriage, she should be able to at least stay in the home with the children.
Sacrifices & Detrimental Reliance
A stay at home mother will likely be eligible for divorce assets as well as alimony or payment for helping the father get an education or sacrificing foregone opportunities in her own life to care for children and stay out of the workforce.
This is because state law considers the sacrifices the stay at home parent makes to help further the spouse's education or properly care for children. Courts do not want to discourage women from being stay at home mothers or see the mother and children going on public assistance while a father keeps all the money and silently watches.
To the law, a stay at home mother engaged in detrimental reliance by believing the husband would be the sole breadwinner for life. Society as a whole also holds up stay at home motherhood as an ideal that everyone should get to practice but often ca not.
Getting Legal Counsel
Any woman facing a divorce, but especially a stay at home mother should not go to court without retaining an experienced Family Law attorney licensed in her state. An attorney knows more about the legal process and the law itself.