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What Rights Do Stay-At-Home Moms Have In A Divorce? Advice From a Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer
If you have given up work to stay home and care for your children in your marriage, a divorce can be a nerve-wracking time. With your spouse as the primary earner, the outcome of your divorce can have enormous implications for your financial future.
It is a common misconception that stay-at-home moms have few rights during a divorce, as their spouses usually take the lead on the family finances. Mostly, this is not true. At the very least, you are entitled to a fair and equitable share of the marital estate. You could also be entitled to child and spousal support payments. However, with a spouse who has predominantly managed the family funds, securing what is rightfully yours could be challenging. You could face issues such as hidden assets, arguing your proposed child custody arrangement, and even undue pressure to leave the family home.
As a stay-at-home mom, it is imperative that you understand your rights and that you are not pressured into accepting anything less than you deserve. The first step to accurate advice is to look into the assets in the estate. Discovering the couple’s various accounts and properties is necessary before making informed decisions about offers and agreements. It is your family law attorney’s role to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and that your final divorce settlement accurately represents these rights.
Our divorce lawyers fully understand the rights of stay-at-home moms and how they apply to divorce. This understanding, combined with our comprehensive experience handling high-asset divorces, means that we can fiercely represent the rights of stay-at-home moms and their families and ensure they receive the best settlement possible.
The outcome of a divorce is huge for anyone, but for stay-at-home moms, your settlement can have long-lasting implications on the future of you and your family. If Youngblood Law, PLLC, represents you, you can rest assured that your interests will be protected and that we have the skill and knowledge to secure the best possible outcome for you.
If you are a stay-at-home mom looking to defend your rights in a divorce, contact a skilled Fort Worth divorce lawyer Youngblood Law, PLLC, today at 817-369-3970.
The Divorce Settlement In Texas Divorce
During a divorce, a couple must decide how they distribute marital property and child custody between spouses. Your final divorce decree will include Judge-approved agreements outlining how the marital estate is split, child custody arrangements, and any financial support payments, such as spousal maintenance or child support.
Divorce involves negotiating proposed terms between spouses and eventually reaching an agreement. An agreement may be achieved through out-of-court negotiations with both spouses and their family lawyers through formal divorce mediation, or as a last resort, through a divorce trial. When the divorce goes to final trial, the judge will order a property division, which may not be optimal for either spouse under the facts of the case. So whenever possible, an agreed settlement allows the spouses to prioritize the most valuable assets.
Property Division For Stay At Home Moms
The division of the marital estate is a crucial element of every divorce and will have long-lasting implications for the financial future of you and your family. For stay-at-home moms, this process can be particularly daunting, and you may believe that you have no right to marital assets as you may not have financially contributed to the same extent as your ex. However, this is entirely untrue.
Texas law states that any marital property is subject to fair and equitable division between divorcing spouses, regardless of each spouse’s financial contributions to the household. When determining property division, the court often also considers each spouse’s valuable contributions aside from finances, such as homemaking and caregiving. Texas law values the stay-at-home spouse’s time, toil, and effort.
Texas Community Property Laws
Under Texas community property law, any assets or property earned or acquired by either spouse within the duration of the marriage are considered community property. These laws can apply to earnings in bank accounts with only one spouse’s name on them, real estate in one spouse’s name, and even the growth in value of a family business.
Fortunately, this law grants some protection to stay-at-home moms in divorce who have contributed to a household through caregiving and homemaking but may have played less of a role in the family’s finances.
Spousal Support For Stay At Home Moms
As a stay-at-home mom, spousal support payments can be a lifeline to help you transition to life without the primary earning spouse. If you seek spousal maintenance payments from your ex, the burden is on you to prove you are entitled to this support. In Texas, the family court begins each divorce case assuming that spousal support is inappropriate. It is down to the requesting spouse, and their legal team must prove otherwise.
The court considers factors such as marital misconduct, each spouse’s caregiving responsibilities, the employment history of both spouses, homemaker contributions, and the emotional and physical condition of the requesting spouse when deciding upon maintenance payments. Additional considerations include any history of family violence, each spouse’s ability to provide for their reasonable needs, and education and employment skills.
Spousal Support Criteria In Texas
The criteria to be eligible for spousal support payments in Texas are stringent. Spouses must satisfy at least one of the following criteria to apply for maintenance payments from their ex:
- The marriage lasted at least ten years, and the requesting spouse cannot earn a sufficient income to satisfy their minimum reasonable needs.
- The requesting spouse is physically or mentally disabled and cannot earn an adequate income.
- The paying spouse was convicted of or received a deferred judgment for a criminal offense that included domestic violence against the requesting spouse or their children within two years of filing for divorce or during the divorce process.
- The requesting spouse is a custodial parent providing care for a disabled child, which prevents them from earning a suitable income to support themselves.
Most spousal support arrangements are awarded for a fixed term or as long as the condition persists in the case of a disability or a disabled child. Factors such as the duration of your marriage will influence how long spousal support lasts. Texas law encourages spouses to become self-supporting and reduce their reliance upon maintenance payments from their ex.
Texas family court strongly encourages both parents to play an active role and spend as much time as possible with their children. While also ensuring the arrangement remains in the child’s best interests. Texas family law statutes still provide the “Standard Possession Order.” As such, in most child custody arrangements in Texas, one parent will have slightly more time with their children than the other.
As the primary caregiver, a stay-at-home mom is often more likely to be awarded custody of the children. A Judge’s priority when deciding child custody is the child or children’s best interests. Texas law favors continuity in a child’s life. Also, it considers the amount of time each parent has available outside of work to dedicate to their children.
Although you may assume you will be awarded primary physical custody as a stay-at-home mom, custody proceedings should not be taken lightly. Child custody is often one of the most contentious areas for a divorcing couple, and spouses can use various tactics to discredit the other parent to sway custody in their favor.
As a stay-at-home mom, some exes may use this against you and try to claim that you cannot support your children financially. An experienced Fort Worth family law attorney must represent you to defend you against these accusations and ensure your custody arrangement is in your child’s best interests.
The outcome of child custody proceedings will impact any potential child support payments. Usually, the noncustodial parent will pay child support to the parent with primary custody. Child support in Texas is calculated based on Net Monthly Income. For one child, the paying parent will pay 20% of their net monthly income to the custodial parent. These payments increase to 25% of their net monthly income for two children and 30% for three children, increasing by another 5% per child up to 40% for six children.
If the paying parent earns a net monthly income above $9,2000, the same calculations will be applied only to the first $9,200. These calculations are basic guidelines, and a parent can request more support if their child or children warrant higher payments. The requesting parent must prove to the court that their child has additional needs that require further financial support. Additional needs include medical care, tutoring, coaching, school costs, and extra-curricular activities.
Complications For Stay At Home Moms In High-Asset Divorces
Stay-at-home moms can face additional complications and hurdles when navigating a high-asset divorce. For example, your spouse may attempt to claim that they own fewer assets than they do or even try to hide marital property. Although this can occur in any divorce, often high-net-worth individuals have access to more accounts and places to hide marital assets.
As such, you need a Fort Worth divorce lawyer will the skill and experience of high-asset divorces to successfully uncover these issues. Complex estates often require significant investigation into the documentation and financial information in the estate to identify and attribute known accounts and assets and to locate hidden assets. Your family law attorney may work with a certified divorce financial analyst to secure the evidence to support your fair settlement.
A stay-at-home mom may also feel intimidated by the scale of resources available to their ex to secure the best representation in the divorce. Often, high-net-worth spouses seek high-quality, aggressive representation to defend their interests and attempt to reduce the settlement that they receive. As such, it is crucial that you, too, secure skilled and fierce representation to fight for your terms.
Because of Texas’s community property laws, community funds can be used to hire and retain a lawyer for a stay-at-home mom. The earning spouse can be ordered to pay the stay-at-home spouse for legal expenses.
Ask a Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer: Can A Stay At Home Mom Keep The Marital Home?
Understandably, many people do not want to lose their homes when they go through a divorce. In some situations, selling the family home to release the equity and split the proceeds between spouses is necessary. This is common in divorces when the family home constitutes most of the community estate. However, selling the family home is only sometimes necessary when high-net-worth couples divorce. Often, a couple has a significant portfolio of assets, which means that other marital assets could offset the family home’s value.
Your Fort Worth divorce attorney may be able to negotiate with your spouse to find an arrangement that means that you and your children can keep the marital home, and your spouse can keep other marital assets in exchange. For example, suppose your spouse owns a business considered community property. In that case, they may be more inclined to allow you to keep the house in exchange for your share of the company.
What Rights Do Stay-At-Home Moms Have In A Divorce In Texas?
Understanding your rights as a stay-at-home mom in a divorce is essential. Do not think you can be cut out of the marital estate just because you haven’t been as involved as your spouse in the family finances despite threats from your spouse to do so. You have the same rights to the community property from your marriage as your spouse.
In addition to the right to a fair and equitable share of marital property, child support, and potentially spousal support, your divorce attorney may be able to petition the court for additional assets as the non-working spouse.
As a non-working, stay-at-home mom, additional support may be available to you concerning your attorney fees for the divorce. Although it is not guaranteed, the court can award attorney fees in a divorce. If you and your lawyer can provide justification to the court and prove that your ex is financially able to pay your legal fees and you are struggling with financial hardship, the court may order your ex to cover your legal bills.
The introduction of new romantic partners can be challenging for exes. Often, our clients have concerns that their ex is spending marital finances or assets on their new partner. In this situation, your attorney can help you to secure a financial restraining order to protect the community estate. Once in place, a restraining order prevents spouses from making significant financial transactions without prior approval. This can relieve some of the concern of your ex wasting your share of marital property before you receive your divorce settlement.
Similarly, many parents have concerns regarding their children meeting new partners. Your ex bringing their new partner around your children can be problematic and confusing for children, especially before the divorce is final. However, your lawyer may be able to help you prevent this. You and your Fort Worth divorce attorney can petition the court to order that their parent cannot have romantic overnight guests while the divorce is still pending. It may even be possible to get an order that prevents the introduction of any romantic partners to your children until after the completion of the divorce.
Staying In Your Home
Many stay-at-home moms feel pressured to leave their homes and stay with family or friends at the start of a divorce. This pressure can be particularly overwhelming when your spouse is the primary source of income and pays the bills associated with the home. Although you may feel pressured, you are under no legal obligation to leave your home when the divorce petition is filed. Even if your name is not on the deeds to the house, your spouse can only kick you out of your home with a court hearing.
If you or your children are facing the threat of family violence from your spouse, the court can order your spouse to leave the home immediately, allowing you and your children to remain in the house safely. If there is family violence, tell your lawyer about it. A protective order may be in order along with the divorce.
How Can A Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer Help?
Skilled legal counsel will be crucial in your divorce to improve your chances of a favorable outcome and protect your rights. Your attorney can provide evidence and justification to the court that may influence the property settlement you receive. Although property division should be fair and equitable, this does not necessarily mean precisely equal. Factors such as child custody, the size of each spouse’s separate property, and who caused the marriage breakdown can all influence a divorce settlement.
Your attorney can also file petitions to freeze the marital estate if you have concerns over their spending, have your legal fees covered by your spouse, and temporarily prohibit your spouse from introducing new partners to your children. Although there are no guarantees that a court will grant such orders, representation from a skilled attorney will help your case and increase the likelihood of securing a favorable decision. Even without guaranteed court results, having a lawyer who knows when to file for hearings can motivate your ex to follow the rules and be more civil during a divorce.
A skilled family lawyer will also fight on your behalf to secure the best child custody and child support agreement for you and your family and ensure that the court hears and considers any influencing factors that could improve your property settlement.
Protect Your Rights During Divorce and Contact a Divorce Attorney Fort Worth Couples Trust!
When your ex has significant financial resources, they have a lot to lose. It is safe to assume they will secure aggressive legal representation to defend their interests. As such, your attorney’s caliber and ability to fight for your rights are more important than ever.
At Youngblood Law, PLLC, our skilled attorneys are well-versed in navigating complex high-asset divorces through negotiation without needing a trial. This can be particularly beneficial in high-asset divorces because it negates the need for a Judge to make a final decision upon property division which can often result in selling assets, large tax bills, and estate wastage.
This skilled out-of-court negotiation can save high-asset couples a significant amount of money which, instead, can be split between spouses. Protecting this community property from wastage at trial can also be used in our negotiations with your ex to support your claim to a greater portion of the marital estate. However, if a trial is the best option for your divorce, we will not hesitate to defend you in the courtroom aggressively.
For reputable divorce advice from an attorney with experience in divorces like yours, contact Youngblood Law, PLLC, today.
Contact our legal team at 817-369-3970 to book a consultation with a skilled high-asset divorce attorney who will fight for your rights as a stay-at-home mom.