The end of a marriage can be especially difficult for a spouse who is not financially independent. Someone who has chosen to stay at home and care for the household or children while another spouse earns the income may have a big gap in employment and may have spent years contributing in the home rather than building a career. This makes getting a job after separation more challenging.
Facing divorce as a stay-at-home parent is possible, but you will want to take extra steps to protect your future. Fortunately, South Carolina laws may help you get started in the next chapter of your life.
Advice for Stay-at-Home Moms in a Divorce
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If you have stayed behind at home while your spouse went to work, there are a few things you will want to do to ensure you protect your rights if you are considering separation or if your spouse has stated they want to end the marriage:
1. Understand Your Contribution
South Carolina is an equitable distribution state, meaning all property acquired during the marriage, with a few exceptions, is considered marital property and can be divided equally by a court. In addition, courts in the state consider all the contributions spouses made to the marriage.
If you took care of the house and the children while at home, you contributed to the time available to your spouse to work on their career and improve their income. You may have helped grow your spouse’s business and contributed to the growing value of your home by caring for it.
Understand that your contributions are also significant, even if you were not paying all of the bills. Even if your name does not appear on all assets, you may still have rights to some of the shared property. To learn more, the Lauren Taylor Law blog has articles to help you better understand family law.
2. Gather Documents
Gather as many documents as you can, including bank statements, insurance papers and any proof of assets. Any paper which is related to your finances can be useful, so keep a copy. Keep this information in a safe place so you can share it with your lawyer.
3. Talk to a Family Law Attorney First
The first thing you should do if you are headed for separation and divorce is to speak with a family law professional. If you do not have your own bank accounts, it can be especially challenging to get the money you need for legal representation. If you are the one considering separating, talk to an attorney first and follow their suggestions.
Can a Stay-at-Home Mom Get the House in a Divorce?
In some cases, the stay-at-home spouse may retain the house, but it is not always advisable to do so. Since your household will be smaller, you may not need the space, and the upkeep can be more than your new budget may allow. If your home has sentimental value, consider speaking with your attorney about the practicalities of keeping the home.
If you need representation, you can contact us at Lauren Taylor Law or call us at 843-790-9009 .
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor practices family law in Charleston and Greenville. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for more than ten years.
Since the firm’s inception in 2012, Mrs. Taylor has helped hundreds of people navigate the uncertainties surrounding the family and criminal court process.
She has cultivated a team that ensures each case has a strategy crafted specifically to the clients needs and desires.
Her commitment to top notch service has led her to open two additional offices in the low country where she now resides with her husband Michael and her golden retriever, Buster.