While many people in California and across the country continue to value the role of stay-at-home parents, they have varying ideas about what those parents should receive in a divorce. Around 25% of American mothers and 7% of American fathers leave the workforce to stay home and raise their children. For some of these parents, their families save money overall after they do not pay the costs of daycare. However, many stay-at-home mothers are highly educated with their own high-powered career potential. Around 10% of American highly educated mothers with a master’s degree or higher stay home to care for their children.
California is a community property state, which means that each spouse is entitled to half of the assets that are understood as marital, rather than separate, property. The amount that people emerge with from the divorce can vary greatly depending on the length of the marriage.
One study examined over 3,000 people about their attitudes toward divorce property division for stay-at-home parents. Participants were asked about a hypothetical scenario in which a couple was divorcing, including a stay-at-home mother who had been out of the workforce for 15 years. They were given various scenarios about the spouses’ occupations and levels of education and asked how their assets should be split. Women overall were more likely to give the stay-at-home mother a greater share, an opinion that did not change based on education levels. On the other hand, men were likely to give the mother a smaller share but increase it based on her education.
Stay-at-home parents may be concerned about how they will fare after the divorce. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing spouse to provide guidance on dealing with property division, spousal support and other legal matters.