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Stay-at-home parents should think about alimony

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Many Arizonan couples who decide to get married also decide to have children. In many cases, one parent, usually a mother, decides to drop out of the workforce to take care of the household and raise children. While being there physically and emotional can be crucial for children, it can put a clamp on a parent's career. Though this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be troublesome if, down the road, the couple divorces. When this happens, the stay-at-home parent may have trouble re-entering the workforce and thus may have trouble making ends meet.

In many instances, a stay-at-home parent can obtain spousal support from an ex-spouse. However, alimony is not always guaranteed. If an agreement cannot be reached through marriage dissolution negotiations, then a judge may look to certain factors to determine if spousal support is appropriate. These factors may include the age of an individual, his or her lost income potential, and his or her lifestyle during the marriage.

Instead of leaving a spousal support determination in the hands of a judge, parties can choose to enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement where the issue is addressed. These agreements can specify an amount of alimony to be paid in the event of a divorce or it can even state that no spousal support will be owed if the marriage dissolves. The specific terms of such an agreement is up to the parties involved, but it is important to note that an agreement can be reached even after marriage has already occurred.

Whether a divorcing party is headed for litigation or is about to get married, speaking with a family law attorney is often beneficial to ensure his or her rights are protected. An Arizona attorney can help draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that addresses family legal issues such as spousal support and property division in a failsafe way, and he or she can represent a divorcing party in litigation. Either way, Arizonans should know that, during such a tumultuous time, an ally can be found in a family law attorney.

Source: Forbes, "Deciding To Become A Stay-At-Home Mom? Consider This Cautionary Tale," Jeff Landers, May 29, 2014

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