Equitable division of property for stay-at-home parents

When Georgia couples get divorced, they are supposed to divide property equitably. This could mean that the contributions of each spouse will be considered when a court decides how to divide property. It can be difficult to determine these contributions if one partner was a stay-at-home parent.

Stay-at-home parents are more likely to be mothers. Statistics show that 25% of American mothers with kids 18 and under stay at home. About 10% of these moms have a graduate degree or higher. A Pew Research survey found that more people believe that mothers are better caregivers for new infants than fathers. However, this still does not mean that a mother's contributions are equally valued when it comes time to divide property in a divorce.

Two Vanderbilt University professors conducted a study that looked at attitudes toward property division in divorce when the mother did not work outside the home. A scenario given to participants described a couple married for 17 years. For the last 12 years of marriage, the mother stayed home. The scenario varied in terms of their education, work and assets. Women tended to award the mother more regardless of education. Men tended to value the breadwinner more highly, but awarded more to the mother in scenarios where she had more education.

Going into a divorce, the stay-at-home parent may be concerned about finances. Getting a sufficient share of the marital property and enough spousal support can be important. If the couple can't negotiate an agreement, they may have to through litigation. An attorney can help a stay-at-home parent understand their rights and assist them in getting a fair divorce settlement in court.

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