stay-at-home Archives | Cordell & Cordell

Stay-at-home dads could suffer during divorce

According to the U.S. Census, there were 159,000 stay-at-home dads in 2010, a number three times larger than 10 years ago. This number could potentially balloon due to the 2 million fathers working as the primary caregivers at home due to the recession and dads who work less hours to save time for child care.

As this statistic continues to grow, stay-at-home fathers are increasingly more vulnerable to financial risk during a divorce, and unemployed men are at greater risk of being left by their wives, according to Time magazine.

According to the Huffington Post, New York recently addressed this financial unfairness during divorce lawsuits. The state now requires monied spouses to pay for the the non-monied spouse’s attorney and experts during the litigation. However, alimony is another financial risk all over the country for parents who gave up their careers to stay at home with the children. States with no-fault divorces have usually deemed that alimony is no longer compatible.

One father interviewed by the publication said that he stayed home to care for his child with health issues while his wife worked, but after six years as a stay-at-home dad, his wife left without explanation, leaving him with no alimony and only one year of limited child support.

Employment may threaten marriage

A new study suggests that while a woman’s employment status does not usually make or break a marriage, men who are unemployed are more likely to file for divorce compared with those who have a job.

The study, led by Liana Sayer at Ohio State University, found that even though social pressure discouraging women from working outside the home has decreased, there is still considerable pressure on men to fulfill the role of family breadwinner.

According to the research, an employed woman is more likely to initiate divorce than a woman without a job, but only when she is unsatisfied with the marriage. However, even men who are relatively happy in their marriages are more likely to leave if they are not steadily employed.

Researchers suggest that the changing role of women in the workforce may have something to do with the study’s findings. While a woman’s decision to work is no longer seen as violation of marriage norms, society still has negative associations with men who do not work.

“Women’s employment has increased and is accepted, men’s non-employment is unacceptable to many, and there is a cultural ambivalence and lack of institutional support for men taking on ‘feminized’ roles such as household work and emotional support,” the researchers wrote.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports there were approximately 158,000 stay-at-home dads in 2009. Among them, about 59 percent had two or more children and 57 percent had a yearly family income of $50,000 or more.