Divorce is largely about moving on with your life after an unhappy marriage. However, the decisions you make during that marriage will impact what occurs during the divorce and your opportunities in life later.
As a stay-at-home parent, you made sacrifices for the family. You wanted to give your children the best possible start in life or to allow your ex to keep their main focus on their job. By staying home, you saved your family from sometimes outrageous child care costs at the expense of your income.
You didn’t just lose out on a salary for a couple of years. Your decision to leave the workforce or stop pursuing your career aggressively will have a lasting impact on what you earn. You need to consider those losses as you start planning for your Florida divorce.
What does a stay-at-home parent lose?
If all you were to look at was the income from when your children were home with you, your time off of work wouldn’t necessarily have a serious impact on your finances. However, as someone who has been a stay-at-home parent, there will be a lasting negative impact on what you earn because of that time that you stayed home.
Many parents who take several years off to raise their children will discover that the lifetime impact of that decision is half a million dollars of lost earning potential or even more. When you divorce, the Florida family courts want to see you trying to support yourself. They also have to make decisions about splitting up your parenting time if your children are still minors and your property.
Equitable distribution rules in Florida require that the judge making those property division decisions should seek fair solutions. Acknowledging your unpaid contributions to the household and establishing the long-term financial impact those sacrifices will have on your future income could help you ask for a better solution in your divorce.
How can the courts support a stay-at-home spouse?
There are numerous ways Florida family courts can help you maintain a stable household after divorce. They can diminish how much debt they assign to a dependent spouse or increase their share of the marital estate. The courts can also decide to grant spousal support or alimony for a previously stay-at-home spouse who does not have the recent work history necessary to earn a competitive wage.
The longer the marriage itself lasted, the longer one spouse stays out of the workforce and the more potential they had at the time they left their job, the stronger their claims may be when litigating or negotiating terms for their divorce. Learning about the rules that apply to Florida divorces, like spousal support laws, can help those seeking a happier future after making sacrifices for their current marriage.