We have had many clients sit in our offices completely devastated and blindsided by the fact that his or her spouse wants a divorce. This is particularly devastating if you and your spouse decided it was in the best interest of your family for you to stay at home with the children and manage the household while he or she works outside the home. There is an agreement, a verbal contract if you will, that the spouse providing financial security is agreeing to take care of you and it is okay and safe for you to walk away from your job and lose earning potential.
Additionally, couples often decide that one spouse will invest money and time into furthering the other spouse’s career. This can be done either by investing in his or her degree resulting in a financially lucrative career expecting financial security in the future for your family in return. You have also helped to contribute to the particular image he or she is trying to create by going to social business events.
Suddenly all that work and sacrifice you’ve made by being out of the workforce for years or sacrifices you’ve made to advance your spouse’s career is not going to be realized because he or she wants to break the contract and walk away from the marriage by seeking a divorce. Where do you go from here?
The first piece of advice we at Kevin Hickey Law Partners give to clients that find themselves in situations such as this is to find your identity. Stay-at-home parents or spouses that have sacrificed time and effort to advance their spouse’s careers often find themselves in a bit of an identity crisis. This is only natural since you’ve probably spent a multitude of years being the person that runs the household, takes care of the kids by providing for their day-to-day needs whether it be cooking, being nurse to them when they are sick, taking them to school and other activities. You are the CEO of the house, a chauffeur, an appointment maker; you get the idea, everything but your personal interests. We’re not saying that being a mom or dad isn’t gratifying and that creates a whole new fantastic identity as a parent, but an unexpected divorce can suddenly slap you in the face and make you feel as if you don’t know who you are.
Number one, we encourage our clients to eliminate the feeling of, “I’m just a mom or dad”, or “I’m just a parent that stays at home with the kids all day.” Those are all admirable things, but we want you to look deeper into those roles by looking at what you have brought as a whole to the marriage over the years. You have contributed a lot and just because this one person wants, a divorce doesn’t mean that your worth is any less.
Our next piece of advice to clients is to secure a good attorney that looks out for your best interest. Many clients don’t feel as though they deserve to have their best interests looked after because they have spent so many years looking after everyone else’s best interest. Let our experienced attorneys help you plan for your future as well as your children’s future. Our expertise in matters such as spousal support, child custody, child support, asset division are among some of the things we help you plan for. You only get one chance to divide property and figure out spousal support maintenance eligibility, so we want to make sure it is in your best interest. Entering into an unfair agreement can have lasting consequences for the whole family. The plan needs to assure that the best outcome is fair, while protecting everyone’s present situation and future. Don’t make the mistake of just wanting to settle for a “quick fix”.
Everyone in the family’s standard of living is about to change. Kevin Hickey Law Partners is here to help you protect your long-term future both emotionally and financially. We can help you make the very best out of this truly awful situation.