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Career sacrifices for raising children can impact alimony awards

According to a recent article, the increase in recent years in the number of stay-at-home parents might be driven by economics, rather than lifestyle or parenting trends.

Specifically, that data indicates that only 23 percent of mothers stayed at home in 1999, but the present number has increased to 29 percent. Notably, the increase was not a gradual progression, but rather had spikes corresponding to the economic downturns in both 2000 and 2007. 

The demographic of mothers who stay at home with their children is also not evenly distributed. Financially secure mothers comprise a smaller portion, with at least 34 percent of stay-at-homes living in poverty. In addition, almost half of this group has no higher education beyond high school.

Although over two-thirds of parents do not choose to stay at home, the study did not measure those parents who may reduce their work hours or decline career advancement opportunities for the benefit of spending more time with their children. This approach may be more common.

However, a divorce attorney knows that there can be long-term consequences of one parent prioritizing his or her children over work advancement. In the event of a divorce, the parent who contributed more parenting time may be in need of alimony until he or she is able to update the skills needed to once again enter the workplace fulltime or at a higher pay grade or status. With the help of a skilled divorce attorney, a spouse who made such decisions for the sake of his or her children may be able to obtain financial compensation that is equitable and just.

Source: CNN Money, “Stay-at-home moms are on the rise,” Annalyn Kurtz, April 8, 2014

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