Divorce Reform Expert: Are Stay-At-Home Parents At Financial Risk During Divorce?


Beverly Willett, Vice Chair of the Coalition for Divorce Reform, asks the question in HuffPo:

... stay-at-home parents are vulnerable to substantial financial risk during divorce. Time Magazine recently reported that unemployed men faced a greater danger of being left by their wives, particularly working wives. And though a wife's employment status had no bearing on risk, neither does the law provide stay-at-home moms sufficient protections either, especially under our unilateral divorce laws.

... New York recently recognized the inherent unfairness of this financial disparity when it came to the ability to defend oneself in a lawsuit for divorce. It amended its domestic relations laws to establish a rebuttable presumption that the monied spouse be required to pay for the non-monied spouse's attorney and experts during the pendency of litigation. Regrettably I had no such statutory protection during my own divorce. In other states, stay-at-home spouses without independent means are generally subject to the proper exercise of discretion by the judicial system to award them sufficient funds both to defend themselves and for support.

...  I believe the push for alimony reform has gone too far. That our divorce laws also fail to take into account current economic and unemployment realities as well as the need to protect stay-at-home parents. And shouldn't unemployment benefits kick in, too, when alimony ends for stay-at-home parents who are unable to secure employment?