If you’re going through a rocky patch in your marriage and suspect a separation could be on the horizon — or if you’ve already been served with divorce papers — you may be worried and wondering about your next steps. Concerns about custody and the division of assets can be magnified if you’re not in the paid workforce yourself but have instead joined the increasing ranks of stay-at-home dads. Read on to learn more about the rights of stay-at-home fathers going through divorce.
Will your stay-at-home status impact custody decisions?
Although past generations of divorced parents were often on the receiving end of custody arrangements that permitted the non-custodial parent to spend time with their children only every other weekend, most states today default to an equal division of parenting time unless there’s a good reason not to do so.
This slow change in default custody arrangements can be both good and bad news. No longer will you need to worry that your children will be taken away from you simply due to your gender and the fact that you aren’t seen as the “primary” parent; however, if you can’t imagine going a single day without seeing your child, you may chafe under the restrictions of an equal division of custody. You may also be at a disadvantage when it comes to the division of assets due to your non-breadwinner status. If you’ve let your marketable skills lapse, the judge may even question whether you’re able to support your children without help.
What can you do to preserve your rights when going through a divorce?
Your first step should be to consult with an attorney. The law on custody and child support arrangements involving stay-at-home dads can vary from state to state, and an attorney with local experience is in the best position to provide detailed and personalized advice on the likelihood of a positive outcome in your case.