Today’s parents are unlike any previous generation. More households have two working parents than ever before—even households with pre-school aged children. When these marriages break up, and custody decisions are being made, judges are inclined to award shared custody, especially if both parents are contributing equally to the household income and child care. However, there are still plenty of California families with young children where one parent—and these days, it could be either the mother or the father—is a full-time caregiver. In these situations, primary custody is likely to be awarded to the stay-at-home parent. But what if the parent is falsely claiming to be a necessary caregiver?
When Your Unemployed Ex-Husband Claims to Be a Stay-at-Home Dad
Under California law, both parents have a duty to support their children in a manner that upholds their standard of living. The goal is for the children to be able to live in the same kind of house and neighborhood, go to the same kind of school, and have access to the same healthcare after a divorce as they did before. If this means that a previously unemployed parent has to get a job to ensure that the child’s circumstances don’t change significantly, then that might be what the judge will order. In this situation, it doesn’t matter if the stay-at-home parent was the father or the mother.
If your ex-husband tries to claim that he should not have to get a job because he is the primary caregiver, the judge will consider several factors, including:
- Age of the children. School-aged children generally don’t require a parent to be home full time to care for them. If your children are older, you can argue that your ex should return to work.
- Previous employment history. If your ex has a higher earning potential than you, you could argue that it is in the best interest of the children that he earn a salary rather than stay home to care for them.
- Shared duties. If you are awarded joint custody, the expectation is that each parent is working when the other parent has custody. Your ex cannot claim to be a stay-at-home dad when there are no children in his home.
If your ex-husband is making false claims about being the primary caregiver and is refusing to get a job, you and your attorney can make a case to the judge that he should be compelled to go to work and to share custody equally, even if you are working full time.
Full-Time Working Moms Have a Right to Custody, Too
Do not let the fact that you have been the primary breadwinner affect your chance of getting custody of your children. In Marin County, Nathan Law Offices only represents women in divorce. Contact us to learn more about your rights as a working mom.