Saturday, September 20, 2008

Do Stay at Home Dads Deserve Alimony?..

I recently met a man who has been a stay at home dad for over 10 years and is now facing a divorce. He gave up his career to take care of the children while his wife climbed the corporate ladder, becoming quite successful. Now he is faced with the harsh reality of having to get back into the workforce and try and jump start a career he left 10 years ago.

Obviously he will not be able to earn anywhere near what he would have been earning had he continued to work all of these years. Most women in this situation would have no problem asking for alimony. But some men feel awkward asking their wives for alimony in a divorce settlement, even though they clearly deserve it. Men may be afraid of being ridiculed or viewed as less of a "man" by asking for alimony.

It may have to do with the way society traditionally has viewed a man. Men have been expected to be providers for their families. But with so many women in the workforce nowadays, it is nice to see fathers taking an interest in their children and giving up careers to care for their children.

Many men do not feel their wives deserve alimony either, which is a shame. It does not matter which parent has chosen to stay home to raise the kids, the parent who has given up their career to benefit the family should receive some form of rehabilitative alimony.

You would think that a person who has had the luxury of having his or her spouse be able to stay home and raise the kids would be grateful and want to compensate the other parent in the event of a divorce. Think about how much daycare or a nanny, a maid, chauffeur and many of the other jobs stay at home parents perform and how much that would cost a family over the years. They would be paying a small fortune without the other parent there to take care of the household.

I have heard women and men refer to their stay at home spouses as "lazy". Any parent who has stayed home taking care of kids can tell you going to work is alot easier! It is time divorcing parents who are the primary caregivers are given the respect and compensation they deserve in the event of a divorce.

1 comment:

Vincent (Vini) Nunez said...

Christina, I love your article. It is hard for a man to become a stay at home dad. Imagine the humility he has to face to ask for alimony? As a stay at home dad I gave up a few careers to stay home with each of my kids for their first two years. I am now preparing to go back into the work force in three years by going to graduate school. So, hopefully in three years I can at least start a new career but of course with less pay as before. I have met many stay at home dads that gave up great careers to stay at home with their kids through a group I started (Tucson Stay at Home Dads). See the link on
Thanks again for a real eye opener to the wave of new dads.