Are you a stay at home dad who is contemplating divorce? As society adapts its expectations as to the make-up and configuration of American families, the courts have had to take a look at age-old traditions when it comes to dealing with issues of child custody, spousal support, and other matters when couples decide to call it quits. Even though every state in the union has laws on the books prohibiting such decisions from being based on gender, sometimes fatherhood is still considered less-than in a divorce. If you are a stay-at-home dad who is contemplating divorce, having your rights protected by an experienced local attorney could mean the difference between misery and satisfaction in the years ahead.
Stay at Home Dad – Custody and Visitation
In California, decisions regarding custody and visitation are required to be based on the best interests of the child. Generally factors such as the age of the children, parents’ roles in caregiving, and the health and safety of the child are weighed heavily. If Dad has been the primary caregiver, the courts must give this strong consideration when looking at physical custody assignments.
Child Support Payments – Stay at Home Dad
The amount of child support the custodial parent receives is the first thing the court will address, before ever looking at spousal support. It will be determined based on the other spouse’s net income, but the court will consider payments made to support other children, health care premiums, and mandatory payments for union dues and/or retirement programs.
As a stay-at-home dad, chances are your earnings were significantly less than your spouse’s—if not altogether nonexistent. A number of factors are considered when making spousal support determinations, none of them designed to be punitive to either party. Some key factors the court will look at include:
- The length of the marriage;
- Your ability to maintain a similar lifestyle as the one experienced during the marriage;
- Your ability to earn a living without it having a significant impact on your child-care responsibilities;
- Any domestic violence issues;
- The age and health of both you and your spouse.
Support payments may be temporary or permanent, depending on these and other factors.
Lost Income Opportunities for a Stay at Home Dad
If you have spent years packing lunches, running kids to soccer games and dance lessons, and caring for kids who are home with the flu, your earning potential in the future will never be what it could have been had you chosen to be a career chaser. You have made sacrifices that women have made for decades, and now you are facing the same economic desert that your female counterparts have often suffered through. Like them, you now deserve financial support to raise the children and to maintain a quality lifestyle. Do you live in Sonoma County, Mendocino County or Lake County California? For legal guidance as you move through this new battleground, contact the aggressive, ethical family law attorneys at the Santa Rosa law office of Beck Law P.C.,. Beck Law P.C., is located in Santa Rosa at 2681 Cleveland Avenue just south of the Empire College School of Law and north of Coddingtown Mall.