In 2012, 29 percent of women with children under the age of 18 were stay-at-home mothers. Of those, 34 percent already lived at or below the poverty line. Since 40 to 50 percent of first marriages in the United States end in a divorce, some of those moms could be headed toward financial disaster.
A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Ability to Earn an Income
Dropping out of the workforce even for a year or two could impact a woman’s ability to gain employment in the future. Leaving a job may also impact how much a woman can earn when she does re-enter the workforce. In many cases, women face more barriers when it comes to finding a well-paying job.
You may have to start at a lower level of pay or take an entry-level position in order to get back into paid employment. The skills that you had 10 or 15 years ago before you left paid employment may not be in demand now. Employers may want new skills related to technology, so you might have to take some classes or refresher courses.
How Spousal Support Facilitates Your Financial Future
When you’re already going through the stress of a divorce, trying to write a resume and apply for jobs may be too overwhelming. You may need some time to emotionally recover from the divorce, practice your interviewing skills, work with a job coach, create social media or job search profiles and plan out your process of re-entering the workforce. Having a spousal support plan in place gives you some flexibility. Once you do return to paid work, it could be another one to two months before you receive your first paycheck. Therefore, spousal support will be important until you’re back on solid financial footing again.
Typical Factors That Go Into Allocation of Spousal Support
Many factors go into the negotiation and allocation of spousal support. In some cases, the current income of the higher-earning spouse is compared to the likely income of the stay-at-home parent when determining the amount of money awarded. In other cases, the length of time that the wife was a stay-at-home mom is put into consideration. For example, a woman who took a year off to care for a healthy infant may have an easier time of going back to full-time employment compared to a woman who has been out of the workforce for the past 15 years. A woman’s education and marketable skills will also be factored into the decision.
If you only have a high school diploma, you may have a more difficult time finding work compared to a woman with a college degree. The ages of your children could also be a factor. You might have a more challenging time finding employment if your child is an infant or a toddler compared to a child who is in high school and does not require as much parental care. Some of the other factors that go into spousal support negotiations include:
- If the mother has a child with a disability
- The wife’s age at the time of the divorce
- The wife’s health status, such as her own disability or chronic illness
Negotiating Spousal Support for a Stay-At-Home Mom After a Divorce
When a stay-at-home mom is considering a separation or has been served divorce papers by her spouse, the financial effects can be dramatic. Many women expect to receive spousal support, but those negotiations could be as contentious as child custody.
A woman who never worked or quit her career to raise a family has probably sacrificed years of income, retirement savings and payments into Social Security. This could have significant ramifications for her financial future. If you’re in this position, our Jenkintown divorce lawyer may be able to negotiate spousal support on your behalf, giving you the time that you need in order to make and implement a financial plan. With legal representation, you’ll also have more time to apply for jobs, interview, be hired and get your first paycheck.
It’s important to note that a man can also play the role of stay-at-home parent. In these cases, the ex-husband may seek out spousal support. When you are in need of a family lawyer, contact Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates at 215-886-1266 to schedule a consultation. You may also stop by our office in Jenkintown and make an appointment to learn more about your rights under Pennsylvania law.