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Fairness during divorce for stay-at-home parents

When people in Illinois decide to divorce, they often know that there are serious financial consequences and changes to come. Of course, the end of a marriage comes with numerous emotional and practical challenges, but the financial effects can linger on for years after the other matters have been resolved. This can certainly be true for families in which one spouse is a stay-at-home parent. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that property is divided in order to produce a fair outcome rather than directly in half.

Around 25% of American mothers stay home to raise their children as well as 7% of American fathers. These include 10% of mothers in the country with a master’s degree or higher who would otherwise be expected to have a high-powered career but left the workplace to focus on raising their children. In most cases, they also put a significant amount of energy and effort into supporting their spouse’s career and giving the working parent the freedom to dedicate most of their free time to the job.

Most Americans value the work of stay-at-home parents and expect mothers to be the people to take on this task. However, this can lead to challenges when couples decide to divorce, especially when it comes to property division. Stay-at-home parents contribute a great deal to the marriage, but their contributions are generally not financial in nature.

Still, stay-at-home parents are entitled to a fair share of the marital property, which can include items like retirement funds as well as the family home. A family law attorney may advise a divorcing spouse about how to reach a fair resolution on matters like property division and spousal support.