Divorce Attorney for Stay at Home Moms in Pensacola
There is no one for whom choosing to divorce is easy. However, for stay-at-home moms, whether or not to end the marriage and permanently leave one’s spouse may be an especially difficult decision to make. Indeed, in a divorce, stay-at-home moms may encounter unique and complex issues, including one of the most pressing questions: How will a stay-at-home mother support herself after a divorce?
At the law offices of Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, our experienced Florida divorce lawyers can provide you with the representation you need and deserve. Call our law firm today to learn more about how we can help.
Resolving Key Issues in a Divorce
Before a dissolution of marriage proceeding can be finalized, a couple will need to reach an agreement about key issues in their divorce case. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the case will be litigated, and the judge will make the ultimate decision. Consider these important issues in a divorce, and how stay-at-home moms may be affected:
- Division of property. In Florida, the court recognizes two types of assets: marital and nonmarital. Marital assets are those assets that were acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage; nonmarital assets are assets acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage, or by gift or inheritance. The law in Florida calls for the equitable distribution of all marital assets and debts – equitable does not necessarily mean equal. In making its determination, the court will consider a number of factors, including each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and the financial circumstances of each spouse. While you may be worried that as a stay-at-home mom who has not earned an income, you won’t be entitled to any assets, but this simply isn’t true under Florida law.
- Child custody. All parents may hesitate to seek a divorce because they are worried both about the impact of the divorce on their children, and how a custody decision may affect their own relationship with their child. In Florida, public policy holds that a child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents; parents should work together to create a parenting plan that reflects this (see: Consumer Pamphlet: Divorce in Florida, published by The Florida Bar.) Again, if parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, then the court will intervene. A court must issue a determination that is within the best interests of the child. This will include a consideration about which parent has been the primary caregiver and the relationship that the child has with each parent. If you are a stay-at-home mom, there is a good chance that you will retain the majority of parenting time.
- Child support. Both parents are responsible for providing for their children financially; however, it is assumed by the court that the parent that has primary custody of the child is already doing this by virtue of being responsible for the child’s physical care and wellbeing and, therefore, the noncustodial parent will be ordered to pay child custody. Again, as a stay-at-home mom, it is more likely than not that you will be awarded primary custody of your child, and therefore will not be required to pay child support. However, special circumstances may apply where this is not the case.
- Alimony. The court may consider an alimony award. Alimony is designed to provide financial support for a spouse who is financially dependent on the other and has a need for such support. If you can prove that you have a need for spousal support–and that your spouse has an ability to pay spousal support–you can likely receive an alimony order as part of your divorce settlement.
Important Considerations in Divorces for Stay-at-Home Moms
If you are seeking a divorce as a stay-at-home mom, it’s best to start planning for your divorce now. You will face unique challenges when separating from your spouse based on the fact that you are out of the workforce and are not earning an income separate from your spouse. Things to start thinking about sooner rather than later include:
- Rebuilding your credit. If you haven’t been working for years and haven’t had income as such, you may also not have much credit, particularly if loans and credit cards are in your spouse’s name. As such, it’s time to start building your credit – you’ll need a decent credit score in order to secure a loan, housing, etc. in the future. Consider applying for a secured credit card as soon as possible if you think that a low credit score will be an issue post-divorce.
- Housing costs. You may love your home and want to stay in it post-divorce, but you need to ask yourself whether or not you’ll realistically be able to afford the costs of your mortgage and home upkeep once you’re financially independent of your spouse. If not, it’s time to start considering alternatives and looking for housing that is more affordable.
- Entering the workforce. If you are able to work, then getting a divorce will likely mean that you need to enter the workforce. In order to do so, this might require updating any professional licenses you have, acquiring new skills or education, etc. It’s best to start on this process as soon as possible so that you are able to start earning an income and supporting yourself.
- Forming a financial plan. Finally, it is very important that you sit down with a financial planning professional to go over your finances and start to put together a plan for how you will support yourself and manage your finances after a divorce. This can be one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce for stay-at-home moms.
Call Our Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyers Today
At the office of Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, our seasoned divorce lawyers in Florida have experience representing stay-at-home moms and know that you have unique issues and concerns related to divorce. For a consultation with our law firm today, please call us directly at 850-912-8080, send us a message, or stop into our office at your convenience.