Money Earned During the Marriage: Mine, Theirs or Ours?

If I earned the money during the marriage, I get to keep it, right?

– OR –

If I stayed at home to care for my kids, am I out of luck?

By: Susan E. Block and Allison Schreiber Lee

While the roles of working parents have changed over time so that it is now more common for both parents to work outside the home, there are still families where one parent works and earns income and the other parent stays home with the children. When marital difficulties arise, the stay-at-home parent may have concerns about their ability to support themselves after a divorce, a fear that is often stoked by the wage-earning parent’s assertions that the income they earn at work is “theirs” and that the other spouse is not entitled to any of it.

Missouri courts look at the income of the wage-earner, the possible income of the stay-at-home spouse, and the reasonable needs of both parties, as part of the determination of whether to award maintenance (formerly known as alimony) to one spouse from the other post-divorce, as well as how much should be paid in monthly maintenance if an award of maintenance is appropriate. This determination applies regardless of the gender of the wage-earning and stay-at-home spouse, as well as in same-sex.

The issue of income post-divorce for both a wage-earner and the stay-at-home spouse is different for each family and each circumstance, so speaking with a family law attorney can give you a clearer picture of this or any other post-divorce issues. The family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. are available for these conversations.

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