When it comes to deciding how wealth will be split in a divorce settlement, the law is quite clear that there must be no discrimination between breadwinner and a stay-at-home parent.
How is the contribution of a stay-at-home parent or homemaker valued?
Although the Office of National Statistics has created an online calculator in an effort to put a value against unpaid work such as childcare, cooking and cleaning, in a divorce case the courts will look at the contribution from many angles, including the sacrifice of career progression and future earning potential.
Whilst the majority of partners who stay at home are women, we are dealing with an increasing number of divorce cases involving husbands who have taken time out of their careers to look after the home and family. Whatever the gender of the the person staying at home, the principle remains the same and contributions towards a marriage must not be valued in monetary terms alone. The role of a spouse who has dedicated a large part of his or her married life to looking after the home and caring for children is regarded as equal to that of the main income earner.
What can you do to protect yourself if you have no income?
It can be terrifying to face divorce when you have no income of your own. You may hold back from seeking legal advice because you are not sure how you will pay for it. You are also likely to be concerned about the future financial security of you and your children.
Your position as homemaker makes it more important than ever to have an experienced family lawyer on your side who can explain your rights and negotiate a fair outcome for you and your family.
As well as making sure your contribution is properly taken into account, your solicitor may also be able to secure interim financial support to meet the cost of things such as household bills, children’s extra-curricular activities and legal expenses.
In our experience spouses who have taken on the role of homemaker often neglect to put themselves first in a divorce. It’s our job to look out for you and this includes spotting areas that could reduce your settlement if they are not handled correctly. As pension specialists, for example, we make sure the breadwinner’s pension pot has been valued accurately. We also verify the valuations of property, business interests and other assets.
We cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for you to have this kind of expert advice early on in the divorce process. Most cases are settled out of court these days which means agreements tend to be reached through negotiation rather than by a judge. We will act in the best interests of you and your family to make sure your contribution to the marriage is recognised and your financial future is secure.
To see how Harrogate Family Law can help you, give us a call today on 01423 594680.
Andrew Meehan is an experienced family lawyer specialising in complex divorces involving significant or hidden assets, as well as cases involving children.
He is recommended for family law by both Chambers 2019 (York, Hull and surrounding regions) and the Legal 500 2018 (Leeds/West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire region).
Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be replied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.