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What Are My Rights in an Illinois Divorce if I Am a Stay-at-Home Dad?

Posted on in Divorce

Burr Ridge divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In decades past, taking care of children, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the marital home were largely seen as the wife’s responsibility. Today, American families come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Married couples have the freedom to assign responsibilities according to each spouse’s skillset. More and more often, this means that the majority of the childcare and homemaking duties falls to a husband. If you are a stay-at-home father or “house husband” who is getting divorced, you may have questions about your rights. Fortunately, Illinois law treats men the same as women with regard to spousal maintenance, property division, and other divorce issues.  

Alimony or “Spousal Maintenance” in Illinois

If you have not worked outside the home in several years, you may be concerned about the financial implications of your impending divorce. You may be dependent on your spouse’s income and hesitant to reenter the workforce. Most of the time, when a spouse has sacrificed employment opportunities for the betterment of the marriage or family, that spouse is entitled to alimony or spousal maintenance. However, if you have already signed a prenuptial agreement waiving your right to this financial support, the court will probably uphold this agreement. In the absence of a marital agreement describing a spouse’s right to maintenance, Illinois courts make maintenance determinations based on each spouse’s present and future earning capacity, the impairment to a spouse’s earning capacity caused by his or her focus on domestic duties, the duration of the marriage, and several other factors. The amount of maintenance you may be entitled to will likely be based on Illinois statutory formula. If you and your spouse’s combined income is above $500,000 per year, the court has the discretion to set aside the statutory formula when determining the amount of spousal maintenance.  

Child Custody and Parenting Responsibilities

Another issue you may have questions about is child custody. In Illinois, what was once called “child custody” is now the “allocation of parental responsibilities” and visitation is known as “parenting time.” For many years, Illinois law assumed that it was best for children to be raised by their mother. This so-called “tender years doctrine” presumed that mothers should be given custody of children under 14 years of age unless they were “unfit” to parent. However, Illinois law now makes decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time based on the child’s best interests.

Contact an Oak Brook Divorce Lawyer Today

If you are a stay-at-home parent or homemaker who is planning to divorce, contact a qualified and compassionate Western Springs divorce attorney from Botti Marinaccio, LTD. We will help protect your parental rights, as well as your fair share of the marital estate. To learn more, call us today at 630-575-8585 to schedule a confidential, personalized consultation.



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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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