What happens if I give up work once I’ve had children?

One week on from the Royal Wedding (fab, wasn’t it?) and Meghan has already attended her first Royal event as Harry’s wife when she accompanied her new husband to a Buckingham Palace garden party on Tuesday.

Scenario One: Royalty and (potential!) Children

Meghan resigned from her acting role in Suits shortly after her engagement to Harry was announced, and no doubt she will be kept very busy with her Royal duties or possibly even the pitter-patter of tiny feet in the next few years.

There should be no worries and division of assets and mortgages in their world. A nanny would probably be available if required. 

Scenario Two: The Real World of Children and Work

But what happens to non-Royal spouses who choose to give up work to raise a family? Do they prejudice themselves if they later divorce?

No. It is well-established law that a stay-at-home parent’s contribution to family life is equal to the other spouse’s financial contributions. How does this work in reality though?

If Mr Smith is going out to work every day, and Mrs Smith stays at home with the children, he cannot argue that he should get more money from the house, just because he’s paid the mortgage.

The courts would recognise that Mrs Smith has saved the family money by not having to pay for expensive nursery fees, and by taking on the majority of the childcare herself without Mr Smith having to reduce his working hours, she affords him the opportunity to advance his career.

The same applies where it is the husband who stays at home as the primary carer for the children and the wife goes back to work.

Of course there might be situations where Mr Smith made significant contributions towards the family finances above and beyond paying the mortgage each month, which may be factored into the financial settlement if possible and appropriate.

If you would like further advice about dealing with the Real World, please contact our family law team who can give accurate and detailed advice on your circumstances.


Children at work Children at work

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