Will I Have to Stop Being a Stay at Home Parent After My Divorce?

Will I Have to Stop Being a Stay at Home Parent After My Divorce?

Though not as common as it once was, there are still children in the state of Florida who are raised primarily by a stay-at-home parent. Statistics show the percentage to be close to 30% being raised by a mother, and around 6% by a father. Many times, these individuals put careers on hold to provide a more solid foundation for their children in their primary years.

When couples are facing divorce and one parent stays at home with the children full time, both parents will have a myriad of questions as to how this new arrangement will work financially. Seeking the advice of a Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorney will help to remove some of the mystery from this process and give both spouses options as they move through the divorce.

When you begin the process, you will need to consider the following:

Your Finances

When contemplating divorce, finances are at the forefront of all couples’ minds. Divorce means an increase in debt due to maintaining two households instead of one. For a stay-at-home parent, this may mean returning to the workforce before your children have entered school. Childcare also becomes a new consideration. Unless the working spouse is able and willing to financially maintain both residences, this could be the only option.


Unless set by a prenuptial agreement, or a settlement offer with your spouse- the court will have to consider whether spousal support (a/k/a “alimony”) is appropriate in your case. This could mean a temporary award while you gain financial stability, or a permanent order based on the finances of both parties. Your Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorney will help you to craft your petition to file with the courts requesting an appropriate alimony award. Once received, the courts will consider a few larger questions:

  • Is the marriage one of short, moderate, or long duration? 
  • Does the petitioning spouse have a need?
  • Does the non-petitioning spouse have an ability to pay alimony?

If finding need, and ability to pay, the Court will also look to a number of factors, pursuant to Florida Statute 61.08 regarding alimony awards, in determining what type of alimony award would be appropriate:

(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.

(b) The duration of the marriage.

(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

(h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

When looking at these factors, the stay at home parent will often have many of these factors in their favor; however, alimony is not a guarantee, nor can anyone be sure what a judge will order. 

Courts often will want to see the spouse requesting alimony is currently making steps towards self-sufficiency, such as obtaining a part time job to decrease reliance upon the obligated spouse (unless the petitioning party is unable to work).

Because the couple chose to have the lesser-earning spouse stay at home with the children, that spouse has become less employable. The court will also look at the earnings of the working parent, and their ability to now pay support when creating the award.  It should be noted there is a limit to what an obligated spouse can be ordered to pay, and that other obligations – such as those created by the distribution of the couple’s property and debts, or the burden of child support – may not leave much of an ability for a party to pay support.

Contact Your Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorney

If you are a stay-at-home parent who is facing divorce, you should seek guidance from an experienced Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorneys who can protect the decisions for your children that were made as a family and that remain in the best interests of your child.