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Assigning value in divorce to a spouse’s caretaking duties, Part 2

A family law commentator in a recent Forbes article notes that many women “opt out to support the careers of their husbands and to engage in the intensive mothering that is expected of them.”

We referenced what they opt out from in a blog post from last week. We noted in our May 10 entry that “scores of millions of American wives/mothers … assume stay-at-home caretaking roles.”

How should that be valued in divorce?

That is a key question to be asked and resolved in legions of divorces. High numbers of women in New Jersey and nationally have willingly given up careers and potentially high salaries to make big family sacrifices. They compromised future earnings prospects outside the home — as well as higher education, progressive training, networking opportunities and general employability – to enable their spouses to advance as the family breadwinner.

The result in divorce can spotlight a real disparity in future earning potential. That discrepancy needs to be underscored and equitably resolved.

Doing so, though, can make for a difficult challenge. The Forbes piece notes that, while there is broad public support for the notion that at-home caretaking is important, opinions range widely on how to value it.

In New Jersey, any such assessment will be on a case-by-case basis, with a judge’s close scrutiny being fixed on the factors that are unique in every divorce. We stress on our website at the established Somerville Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh that, “No one gets everything he or she wants [in divorce], but the outcome should make financial sense for you going forward.”

We routinely help valued clients secure that important goal, recognizing that the contributions made in any given variable are both unique and variable.




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