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How Can a Stay-at-Home Parent Prepare for Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on December 12, 2019 in Divorce

Lombard, IL spousal maintenance attorney

There are many reasons why a couple may decide for one parent to stay at home with the children rather than pursuing a career. In some situations, a family simply cannot afford childcare, so a parent may stay home out of necessity. Other families may choose to have one parent dedicate their time to caring for children and maintaining the household. Today, the role of homemaker is not limited to women. In fact, more fathers are becoming stay-at-home dads, according to research published in Psychology Today. Regardless of a person's gender or their reasons for becoming a homemaker, divorce as a stay-at-home parent can seem intimidating, and it can cause a great deal of uncertainty about the future. If you did not work outside of the home during your marriage, and you are facing a divorce, you will want to work with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the legal process of divorce and help you create a secure future.

Know Your Rights

Even if you were not your family's primary income earner, you still have rights regarding the property you own with your spouse and the income that was earned during your marriage. Under Illinois divorce law, marital property will be divided according to the principle of “equitable distribution,” and all property acquired during the marriage should be divided fairly, regardless of who earned the income used to purchase it. The contributions each spouse made to the marriage will be considered when determining a fair settlement. As a homemaker, even if you did not earn a financial income, you have still made many valuable contributions to your family, such as child-rearing, performing household duties (cooking, cleaning, doing laundry), and managing family finances.

Locate Important Documents

When preparing for your divorce, it is important to keep thorough and well-organized financial records. This type of documentation is helpful in determining the extent of your marital property and deciding how these assets should be divided. You will want to obtain the following documents:

  • All sources of income: W2 forms, rental property agreements

  • Expenses: Receipts from school fees, clothing, grocery bills, etc.

  • Mortgage information: Title, deed, statements

  • Assets and investments: Mutual funds or retirement plans

  • Titles and registrations: Documentation for all family vehicles

  • Bank statements: Joint or separate checking and savings accounts

  • Tax returns: Copies of the returns filed during the last several years of the marriage

Create a Detailed Plan

A divorce will change the dynamics of any family, but as a stay-at-home parent, you may be faced with additional concerns, especially if your spouse provided a substantial income throughout the marriage. To ensure that you will be able to meet your family's needs as a single parent, you should make a plan for where you will live, what expenses you will need to address, and how you will provide for your children's needs. You should create a detailed budget, and you may need to look at how you can expense while determining how and when to secure a source of income.

Employment, Spousal Maintenance, and Child Support

If your spouse earned the majority of the family's income, you will likely be eligible to receive spousal maintenance that will allow you to support yourself following divorce, and if you will have the majority of the parenting time with your children, you will most likely also receive child support that will allow you to meet your children's needs. While spousal support can help you transition into the next phase of your life, it may not be feasible to rely on these payments as the sole source of income. You may want to consider your employment options and determine whether career training or further education is needed, and you should ensure that the support you receive addresses these needs while making sure you have a plan to become self-supporting.

Call a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Even in an amicable divorce, there are still plenty of details to sort out, including the division of marital property and child or spousal support. For stay-at-home parents who are facing a divorce, it is imperative that you work with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer. At A. Traub & Associates, we understand the emotional and financial effects that divorce can have on stay-at-home parents, and we will work hard to ensure that your rights are protected. To schedule a consultation, contact our Lombard, IL, spousal maintenance attorneys today at 630-426-0196.


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