Divorce Tips for Stay-At-Home Parents


Divorce is a multifaceted legal issue that requires thoughtful consideration, especially for stay-at-home parents who may not have worked outside the home in a long time. For stay-at-home parents in Nevada, navigating the divorce landscape poses unique challenges and opportunities.

In this blog, we will look at some key elements that stay-at-home parents should know about when considering divorce, including:

  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and support
  • Property division

Understanding Spousal Support in Nevada

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is crucial to understand, especially for stay-at-home parents considering divorce. In Nevada, courts aim to ensure that the financial transition post-divorce is as smooth as possible for the lower-earning spouse.

When determining spousal support, Nevada courts consider:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse's financial condition
  • The contribution of each spouse to any property held by the spouses
  • The age and health of the spouses
  • The earning capacity of the lower-earning spouse

Stay-at-home parents should be prepared to demonstrate how being out of the workforce has impacted their earning potential and financial independence. They should also prepare evidence of their contributions to their shared household and any contributions or sacrifices to support the other spouse's career.

Though often intangible, these contributions matter and are considered during support decisions.

Child Custody Considerations

When concerned with child custody—in legal terms, how parents share responsibility for the mental and physical welfare of their child/children—the Nevada courts do not prioritize one parent over the other. Instead, courts encourage joint custody arrangements to ensure children maintain meaningful relationships with both parents whenever appropriate.

The difference between joint and sole custody in a nutshell:

  • Joint custody: This allows both parents to share physical and legal custody of the child. Managing a joint custody relationship successfully involves clear communication and a cooperative effort to prioritize the child's best interests.
  • Sole custody: In some instances, one parent may be deemed unfit and the other more suitable to assume both the physical and legal custody responsibilities. This can be due to various factors, such as issues of neglect or abuse.

Stay-at-home parents should be aware that their substantial role in caregiving can significantly influence custody arrangements. Additionally, financial status alone does not determine custody outcomes. At the end of the day, the courts prioritize finding an arrangement that is in the child's best interests.

Understanding Child Support

Child support is another key concern for divorcing parents. While the state of Nevada has guidelines to calculate child support obligations based on the non-custodial parent’s income, the court may consider exceptional circumstances and deviate from those guidelines when necessary.

Additionally, parents can craft their support agreement through negotiation instead of the state's guidelines. However, if you go this route, you must remember that your agreement must align with the child's best interests. Once you've negotiated an agreement, you can submit it and seek court approval.

Do You Have Property Rights?

As a community property state, Nevada sees spouses as equal owners of all income and property acquired during the marriage, even if one parent does not work outside the home. Upon divorce, this property is divided equally unless a prenuptial agreement states otherwise or extenuating circumstances trigger the court to deviate.

Stay-at-home parents are entitled to their fair share of the marital property, which often includes:

  • The family home
  • Vehicles
  • Savings accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Investment accounts

Understanding your property rights can be easier said than done, especially if you were not the individual who managed the family finances. We encourage you to seek legal counsel to learn more about your unique situation.

You Deserve Support

Stay-at-home parents should approach divorce proceedings with an informed strategy, attention to detail, and, when necessary, the guidance of a skilled family law attorney like ours at Ford & Friedman. Protecting your interests and those of your children is essential. With preparation and support, you can make it through this challenging period and emerge with the foundation for a positive new beginning.

Schedule a consultation with us today; we are here to help.

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