As many marriages have transitioned to two-income households, many marriages still have the more “traditional” marriage, where one spouse handles the financial responsibilities and the other the domestic responsibilities. While this can be an efficient way to run a household, for stay-at-home parents it can cause distress because they do not know that they have options if they choose to divorce.
Fear is not a reason to stay in a marriage
First, if one is unhappy with their marriage, financial fears should not keep one in an unhappy marriage. Remember, New York is an equitable distribution state, so marital assets are divided fairly and equitably, meaning even if one did not ever earn a dollar during their marriage, they are still entitled to a fair distribution of marital property during the divorce property division process.
Marital property is essentially all property and debt acquired during a marriage. It generally does not include anything brought into the marriage or inherited during the marriage, unless those funds were intermingled with marital property. This can be a substantial estate, especially for couples that have been married for a significant amount of time.
Especially for those stay-at-home parents near retirement age or who are only a decade away from retirement, retirement accounts are a prime concern. This is because there is not enough time to ensure a properly funded retirement account. However, even though, all of a couple’s retirement and broker accounts may be in one spouses name, stay-at-home parents still are entitled to that portion that was accrued and invested during the marriage.
Other than income, another big concern for stay-at-home parents is where they will live. Real estate is also considered marital property, as long as it was acquired during the marriage. This does not necessarily mean one will end up with the family home, but it does mean that it will be considered when judges decide what is a fair and equitable distribution. As readers can see, for those in Westchester and White Plains, New York, thinking about divorce, call an attorney.