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Valuing at-home caretaking in a divorce: Should that be hard?

It’s “complicated.”

Much about family law is, which is the subject area spotlighted by writer Naomi Cahn in a recent article. Cahn’s specific focus in a piece written for Forbes is on gender equality.

Her dive down into that often debated and even volatile subject can perhaps be best framed via one pointed question she asks.

And that is this: “Should the caretaking that stay-at-home moms do be valued as equal to the breadwinning of their husbands?”

That query has been posed before. It has featured centrally on talk shows and served as a plot line in television sitcoms and dramas.

And, importantly, it has garnered the deepest attention of family law courts in Connecticut and across the country who must make key determinations concerning equitable divorce-linked property division.

What is the answer to that question?

Reportedly, that depends on who is responding to it. A recent study surveying more than 3,000 individuals concluded that most men and women think that financial value should be attached to at-home caretaking duties. However, men generally downplayed the overall importance of caretaking contributions from an economic perspective, while a far higher percentage of female respondents deemed at-home work to be of notable worth.

Attitudes concerning the caretaking-versus-breadwinning question – especially judges’ perceptions – are critically important when tied to decisions concerning post-divorce economic realities for splitting spouses.

Cahn duly stresses that is especially so because of the conscious and willing decision that legions of women make to forgo careers in lieu of supporting their husbands and raising children. She states that “we are still working through what is right when a marriage ends.”

Equitable property division can be a thorny issue in any divorce. Questions or concerns regarding this complex – and sometimes contentious – topic can be addressed to a proven family law legal team.

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