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Stay-at-home mothers and spousal support after divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Blog, Family Law |

Stay-at-home moms perform an important and often unrecognized job, sacrificing a great deal for their families’ sake. While many choose to take on this role, just as many find themselves forced into it by the rising cost of childcare and inflation.

Becoming a stay-at-home mom requires a great deal of unpaid labor and the loss of career opportunities. Stay-at-home mothers facing a divorce may worry about their ability to financially maintain their and their children’s quality of living after a divorce, but Wisconsin courts do recognize their contribution and take it and other factors into consideration when determining spousal maintenance.

Contribution to partner’s career

Courts understand that one parent taking over household and child-rearing duties aids the ability of the other spouse to pursue a career by freeing up time, energy and focus. They include each parent’s responsibilities in their alimony amount determination, including if the stay-at-home parent contributed while the other one was obtaining his or her education.

Loss of earning ability

Being out of the workforce for a significant period does not just hurt individuals in terms of gaps in work experience. It also affects if their knowledge is out-of-date. Even if a stay-at-home mom has a degree or prior work experience, if these are old enough, they may not carry the same weight. Courts award more alimony based on considerations like this that affect the parent’s earning ability. Physical and mental disabilities impacting working ability also factor in.

Length of marriage

Judges look closely at how long the marriage lasted. Ten years is a common benchmark as a minimum period for the awarding of spousal maintenance.

Stay-at-home parents contribute in often unquantifiable ways to marriages. These contributions influence whether or not and how much spousal maintenance they receive in a divorce.



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