The trend is growing. More and more fathers are staying home to care for their children while mothers work outside the home. (see: https://charlotte.axios.com/87205/stay-at-home-dads-charlotte/). This blog explores the impact on fathers’ rights when they stop being the “breadwinners” and instead become full-time caregivers.
Equitable Distribution – the division of marital assets and debts. In North Carolina, while there are many factors in the law that a judge may consider when dividing assets and debts, there is a presumption that an equitable distribution is an equal distribution. Thus, fathers who stay home to care for their children do not “lose” any rights when splitting up the house, cars, and accounts. Even if an account, like a 401(k) retirement plan account, is in your spouse’s name, it is presumed that each party is entitled to one-half of the value in the account so long as it contains marital assets.
Alimony – also known as spousal support. Traditionally, alimony was sought by wives and mothers who needed support upon separation from their husbands who worked outside the home. However, today, either party may request, and be awarded, alimony. In North Carolina, if one spouse was dependent on support by the other during the marriage, then the dependent spouse may be entitled to alimony.
Child Custody – North Carolina evaluates where children live (physical custody) and who / how decisions should be made (legal custody) by determining the best interests of the children. Thus, there is no bias for or against the parent who cares for the children or the parent who works outside the home to provide for the family. Parenting history and how responsibilities were shared during the marriage, however, may impact a custody determination, along with other factors.
If you are a stay-at-home father, or have questions regarding the above and your specific situation, contact Hatcher Law Group today to schedule a consultation.
Dan Lewis is a family law attorney and certified North Carolina Family Financial Mediator. He represents clients in cases involving child custody, child support, equitable distribution, alimony, and domestic violence. He also serves as both a private mediator and court-appointed mediator. For more information about mediation, please contact us.