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Home » Legal » Family-law » What Does a Stay-at-Home Spouse Get to Keep in a Florida Divorce?

Jeff Miller.
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What Does a Stay-at-Home Spouse Get to Keep in a Florida Divorce?

Submitted by Jeff Miller.
Tue, 23 Oct 2012

In many marriages, one party works and earns an income while the other party is either a stay-at-home spouse or a stay-at-home-parent. While traditionally it was the man who went to work and the woman who stayed at home to tend to the house or kids, today either spouse may fill either role. Regardless of which parent or spouse is the one at home, however, there are questions as far as what should happen to the marital assets and to the non-working spouse if the marriage ends.

If you are dissolving your marriage and you or your spouse is not working and/or has not worked during the majority of the marriage, it is very important that you speak with a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Your Florida divorce attorney will help you to better understand what the stay-at-home status means in terms of dividing property and in terms of spousal support.

In the state of Florida, equitable distribution rules are used when a court is asked to divide up marital property and assets. Equitable distribution means fair distribution of marital assets and property. Many factors are looked at in determining what is fair and right, including the contributions each spouse made to the marriage as well as the length of the marriage. Financial contributions, however, are not the only thing that counts. The stay-at-home spouse or parent may have contributed a great deal to the marriage in terms of taking care of the children, supporting the career of the working spouse and otherwise helping to keep the household or marriage running. All of these contributions will be considered when the court is deciding on a divorce settlement.

Spousal support is also another major issue to consider in determining what a stay-at-home parent/spouse receives after a divorce. Spousal support or alimony is typically ordered when there is a significant discrepancy in earnings or in earning power between the two spouses. If one spouse has been staying home and the other working, there is a good chance that this discrepancy exists and that the at-home spouse will be awarded alimony. The alimony may be temporary (just until the spouse has time to brush up on career skills and find a job) or may be permanent (such as when the non-working spouse is disabled, has been out of the work force for a very long time or is otherwise unqualified to ever close the earning gap with the former spouse).

While it is possible to allow the court to decide on issues of child custody, property division and alimony/spousal support, it is not necessarily advisable to put these issues before a judge. Instead, it is usually cheaper, more pleasant and better for all parties involved if the two spouses decide together on a divorce settlement.

The two divorcing spouses can discuss custody, assets, spousal support and other relevant details, and if they are able to come to a compromise and draft a settlement agreement with the help of a Florida divorce lawyer, they can present that agreement to the court for a much faster and easier dissolution of marriage.


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