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Naperville divorce attorneysIt is estimated that about one out of five U.S. parents are stay-at-home-parents who do not work outside of the home. The majority of stay-at-home parents are mothers, but data shows that many fathers are choosing to stay home with their children as well. If you are a stay-at-home parent who is considering getting divorced, you probably have many concerns. You may worry, “How will I financially support myself without my spouse’s income? Will I still be able to stay home with my children?” Stay-at-home-parents who divorce face a different set of circumstances than parents who have had a career outside of the home, so it is important to know your options.

Property is Divided According to Equitable Distribution in Illinois

In some states, marital property is split exactly in half during divorce. Illinois, however, uses a method of property division called equitable distribution. Marital estates in Illinois are divided equitably, or fairly, but not necessarily equally. Factors considered by Illinois courts during property division disputes include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The value of each spouse’s separate or non-marital property
  • The value of the marital property expected to be allocated to each spouse;
  • Each spouse’s income, employability, and overall financial circumstances
  • Any child support or spousal maintenance obligations that a spouse has from a previous relationship
  • The contributions each spouse made to the value of the marital estate
  • Non-financial contributions to the marriage made by a spouse acting as a homemaker or stay-at-home-parent
  • Child custody and child support provisions

You May Be Eligible for Spousal Support

Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, are payments that one spouse makes to the other after a divorce. When a spouse has not had a typical job in many years, spousal support can help give them the financial assistance they need to get back on their feet. Spousal support is generally intended to be temporary and only lasts as long as it will take the recipient spouse to gain the skills and education needed to find suitable employment. Permanent spousal support may be awarded if the recipient spouse cannot support themselves financially or after a marriage lasting 20 years or more.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysGetting divorced is always a challenging endeavor, but for those facing a divorce after not working outside the home, it can seem impossible. If you have been a stay-at-home parent or homemaker and are considering divorce, you may have many concerns about what will happen after your marriage ends. How will you get a job and support yourself with so little work experience? Will your non-financial contributions to the home and family be taken into consideration by Illinois courts during divorce? Fortunately, Illinois law does recognize the issues homemakers and stay-at-home parents face when they get divorced, and there are several legal options available to make the transition to single life more manageable.

Non-Financial Contributions Matter Too

The sacrifices a parent or spouse makes for his or her family should be accounted for during divorce. Illinois law considers marriage to be a “joint enterprise” meaning it recognizes the contributions that a stay-at-home mother or father and/or homemaker made to the marriage. A parent who sacrificed his or her professional career for caretaking responsibilities is at a significant financial disadvantage after divorce. Illinois courts therefore consider both party’s’ future employability and contributions to the marriage – both financial and non-financial – during decisions about property and spousal maintenance.

Illinois Divides Property Equitably

Unlike some other states, Illinois divides property according to a method called “equitable distribution.” This means that property is not automatically divided 50/50. Instead, many factors are taken into account during property division. These factors include, but are not limited to:

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