Will the Working Spouse Be Required To Provide the Same Lifestyle to the Stay-at-Home Parent in a Divorce As He or She Had Become Accustomed to During the Marriage?
This is a general standard in cases that involve alimony. The reality—as all judges know—is that when two spouses living at a certain level on a joint income separate and have to maintain two households, it is, in most cases, impossible to continue these new households at the same financial level as when they were only supporting one. There is going to be a reduction in the standard of living for both sides, except in cases of extreme wealth. The court will not allow one spouse to live a super luxurious lifestyle while the other spouse is on the verge of poverty, but both spouses, post-divorce, are going to be living at a lower level than they were when they were together because of the need to support two households.
How Is the Value of What the Caretaker Spouse Provides to the Family Determined in a Divorce in Florida When It Comes to Things Like Division of Assets and Support Matters?
There is generally no financial value attached to what a caretaker spouse provides. Nevertheless, having one spouse be the sole breadwinner and the other a caretaker or a stay-at-home spouse does become a factor in an alimony award. The earning spouse is going to be required to support the non-earning spouse to a certain level if the non-earning spouse meets the alimony requirements. The court will consider factors like the length of the marriage and the age of the spouses, as well as whether the spouse can work or has worked in the past.
What Are Some Reasons It Can Be More Challenging for a Stay-at-Home Parent To Initiate a Divorce and How Can Someone Overcome Some of Those Challenges?
When a stay-at-home parent is ready to initiate a divorce, he or she is generally concerned about how to move forward financially after being dependent to some degree on the breadwinning spouse. One of the best things that the stay-at-home spouse can do initially is to get a consultation with a family lawyer to discuss their options. In consultations, I often hear: “I want to maintain the marital home.” We then discuss whether they can, in fact, financially afford to stay in that marital home by considering how much money they will need and whether they plan to return to work.
If the person seeking the divorce will be the one who has to move from the marital home—or if both spouses will need to move, I would advise the person considering the divorce to start looking at rentals, find out how much they cost, and calculate how much they’re going to need to live. They should get a quote for how much their automobile insurance will cost once they’re separated and look into health insurance (since spouses cannot continue on the same health insurance policy after they’re divorced). These considerations represent challenges for the non-earning spouse, but there is nothing that can’t be figured out with the help of a good family lawyer.
My Spouse Wants a Divorce. I’m the Stay-at-Home Parent, and My Working Spouse Controls All Finances. How Do I Ensure I’ll Be Able To Afford a Quality Divorce Attorney?
As soon as you file your case, you can also file, as part of the petition or as a separate pleading, a motion for temporary attorney’s fees and costs. Assuming that the earning spouse makes a good living and has extra income (or if you have money in savings or credit cards available), you should be able to have enough to retain a quality attorney. Once the retainer, or the initial deposit to hire the attorney, is paid, the judge will help you, depending on the financial circumstances of both sides, continue to maintain your attorney.
The law in Florida supports that each party in a divorce is supposed to be on equal legal footing. Neither party should be denied an attorney, and neither party should be at a disadvantage because they have less money or because they can’t afford an attorney. Therefore, the court will ensure that both parties have enough money to hire an attorney, though the quality of the attorney will depend on how much money you have or how much your spouse earns. You both have a right to legal counsel, and the court will ensure that you have equal access.
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