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What to expect in a divorce as a stay-at-home parent

Divorce can be even more stressful as a stay-at-home parent. If your spouse is the primary earner, you may be wondering if you'll be able to maintain your standard of living following your separation.

Even if you made little or no income during your marriage, you have the right to maintain your lifestyle following a divorce. While Virginia law offers few absolutes in regards to property division and spousal support, you do have rights when it comes to finances and property acquired during your marriage.

Property division

Property division is a complex topic, especially when it comes to finances like investment accounts and retirement accounts. Virginia law allows for the equitable distribution of all your assets and debts.

As we've mentioned before, this can be confusing because it doesn't mean splitting everything right down the middle. The law may also leave you concerned that you won't be entitled to anything because you didn't earn it yourself. This, however, is not true. The court takes overall contributions to the marriage into account, which includes running the home and caring for your family.

Spousal support

Like property division, there is no set formula for determining spousal support. It is based on the divorcing parties' need and ability to pay support. For the stay-at-home parent, the need for child support is greater because you were depending on your spouse's income.

There are five types of child support in Virginia:

  • Periodic payments for an undefined duration
  • Periodic payments for a defined duration
  • Lump sump
  • Reservation
  • Temporary child support

The type of spousal support you receive depends on your circumstances. While there are reasons you wouldn't receive support, working with an attorney can help you get the best possible outcome.

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