The dissolution of a marriage is always a stressful situation as you deal with friction-causing issues like custody arrangements or the division of property and heirlooms. The changes to your monetary situation may also be extreme, especially if you’ve spent years raising children as a stay-at-home parent and are currently financially dependent on the other party. Here’s what you need to know when considering the possibility of returning to the workforce.
Factors a Divorce Court Considers for Awarding Support
Whether enough child support or spousal maintenance (alimony) is granted so you can continue to care for the children on a full-time basis at home depends on a number of circumstances taken into account by a judge. If you have a consistent track record of regular employment, even part-time, during the course of the marriage and your children don’t require any sort of special care, it's more likely you will need to find a new job quickly to meet your family’s financial needs.
Every case is different, however, and there may be extenuating circumstances to bring up with the court, which is why you need to talk to an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. In particular, a judge will typically consider these main factors:
- Length of the marriage – If the relationship lasted decades and you were a homemaker for most or all of that time, you are more likely to be awarded support than if the marriage was only a few months or even years long.
- Ages of children – A judge will likely rule differently in a divorce involving younger children who need constant supervision than one impacting an older teenager who may be leaving the nest soon anyway.
- Health and needs of children – Kids who are disabled, have special needs, or will otherwise be negatively impacted by the parent leaving for eight hours a day will all be taken into account by the court.
- Number of children – More children obviously require more care, and the previous two factors are also compounded here. A parent raising three infants is in a very different situation than one raising a single teen who already has their own job, for instance.
- Your former spouse’s income and employment qualifications – The amount of money your ex makes and how much that person is able to provide is always a major factor in any support decisions.
- Your work background and skills – Your employment history and whether you hold a degree in a field where you could easily find a job to cover the normal costs associated with childcare are also taken into account.
Clearly, a stay-at-home mom or dad who last worked 30 years ago and doesn’t have any skills that are in high demand will see a different outcome in court than a parent with a degree who has regularly held jobs during the marriage.
After the divorce is finalized, you may experience difficulties finding suitable employment, especially if you have a gap of years or decades in your resume. In families with multiple children, the simple cost of child care alone may be more than many entry-level positions offer as an hourly wage.
That’s why you should consult an attorney as early as possible in the divorce process to get help preparing financially and ensure you land on your feet after all the assets are divided. In addition to assisting in negotiating with the other party, your attorney can also help you petition the court for changes to spousal or child support if your financial circumstances change after the divorce.
Protect Yourself With the Help of a Skilled New York Divorce Lawyer
Every divorce is different, and no two families are the same, which is why there isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” answer to whether you will need to find a job after the split is finalized. To find your best path forward financially, get in touch with the Alatsas Law Firm and schedule an appointment today.