Going through a divorce is never easy. In the beginning, most people face a lot of unknowns as to what life will look like after their divorce is finalized. For mothers who left their careers to be home with their children, they face even more uncertainty.
If you’re one of those stay-at-home moms now facing divorce, you probably have a lot of questions. How much will I receive in a divorce settlement? Will I be able to keep the family home? Will I need to get a job and reenter the workforce?
Dividing marital assets
First, you’ll need to work with a family law attorney to help determine what marital assets you and your spouse have. These won’t be split automatically 50-50 in Virginia, but rather in a fair and equitable manner. That means that if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on asset division, a judge will decide how much of a share you will receive of the marital home’s value and your spouse’s retirement accounts and other investments.
Here are some factors Virginia courts look at when dividing marital assets:
- The monetary and nonmonetary contributions of you and your spouse to the well-being of the family
- How long the marriage lasted
- The circumstances and factors that led to the marriage ending, including certain grounds for divorce such as adultery
- The ages of both spouses and their physical and mental conditions
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse
You may receive some spousal support after the divorce. Sometimes, this support is only for a fixed amount of time with the intent that it will help you gain any training you may need or give you time to reenter the workforce. It also could be ongoing, depending upon how long you were married, what your previous lifestyle has been, your former spouse’s ability to pay and the age and health of both you and your spouse.
The purpose of spousal support is to lessen the economic impact for a stay-at-home parent or a lower-wage earning spouse in a divorce.
A family law attorney can help you determine what you might receive in a divorce settlement or in spousal support. An attorney also can be an advocate for you, to help you show how staying at home with the children benefited the family.