Every year, millions of fathers in America stay home to raise their children instead of heading to the office for a traditional job. Some studies show that over 32,000 stay-at-home dads reside in Maryland alone. Every couple and family is different, and stay-at-home parents of any kind might choose to stay home for many different reasons. From unemployment to childcare costs, both mothers and fathers deserve respect for staying at home. However, how do things change for stay-at-home dads during the divorce process?
Custody and Visitation in Maryland
Maryland makes all custody and visitation decisions based on what they deem is in the best interests of the child. However, this can be influenced by who the primary caregiver of the child already is. Stay-at-home dads who were the primary parent of their child may have an edge during the decision process. What are some of the other factors that Maryland considers when deciding custody and visitation?
Parental fitness and reputation
Existing agreement or desire of the parents
Age and gender of the students
Distance between homes
Length of separation
Prior voluntary surrender of the child
Working with an experienced lawyer like the attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC is critical to make a strong case for custody in court. Stay-at-home dads deserve the same consideration that stay-at-home moms have during the divorce process. Because you are the primary caretaker for the child now, you could have an advantage during the process. We know how to present your case and experience caring for your child in court.
Factors Working Against Stay-at-Home Fathers
Historically, many courts have used the “tender years doctrine” to influence who should have custody of a child. The principle holds that, during a child’s “tender” years (under the age of four), the mother should have primary custody. Today in Maryland, the tender years doctrine is not law and both mothers and fathers are eligible to receive custody. However, Maryland holds that there is no gender bias when it comes to spousal support, child support and child custody. The “tender years doctrine” is not part of the law. Unfortunately, that does not mean that some judges may not subconsciously favor mothers for custody matters. Stay-at-home dads often need to present strong, organized cases to show why they are prime candidates for custody. Working with an experienced attorney like the attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC ensures that every father receives the same custody consideration as a mother.
If you are one of many stay-at-home dads who does not bring in significant income, spousal support is another big consideration. Pendente lite alimony can be awarded to cover the time from when you file for divorce and the date the divorce is finalized. Rehabilitative alimony can also be awarded. This type of alimony is common in cases with stay-at-home dads, as it covers a set time period for you to build your career, go to school or find a viable way of supporting yourself. Gender does not impact whether or not you get alimony in Maryland, but working with a lawyer who understands how to advocate for stay-at-home dads is critical. Our team knows how to present your case for alimony and custody in court and works together to find the best resolution possible.
Help for Stay-at-Home Dads During a Divorce from the Attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC
Whether you are searching for an experienced lawyer to assist with your divorce or another family law issue, the attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC can help. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today at (410) 657-6494.