Although most stay-at-home-moms I come across are married, every once in a while I come across a stay-at-home-mom who is not. She has chosen to stay home and take care of the child(ren) while her boyfriend continues to work. Maybe he convinced her that it costs too much for childcare for her to work, or maybe she just always dreamed of staying home with her baby. Whatever the reason for making that decision may have been, there are a number of reasons why that decision can really come back to bite her down the road. Below are five reasons why you should never decide to be a stay-at-home-mom if you are not married to the father of your children.
- Texas is a community property state, which is great… if you are married. If you are not married, the father of your child, who you are in a relationship with and who you are sure would never do anything to hurt you, can be making millions of dollars. Unfortunately, you will never see a penny of it if you split up. Every dollar he makes is his separate property. He is accumulating wealth while you are accumulating nothing.
- You know that beautiful house you and your child’s father picked out that he bought and you both live in? It’s his separate property. If he decides he wants to move on (or you can’t take his abuse any more, etc.), guess who gets to stay in the house? Him. And guess who will probably not be able to qualify to rent her own place because she has not been working in so long? You.
- Because you were not married, you have no chance of getting spousal support. Your only possible source of support from the father is child support. Even if you are lucky enough to receive the maximum amount of child support, it is nowhere near enough to support you and your child(ren).
- The longer you have been out of the workforce, the harder it will be to get back in. That degree your parents spent big bucks on or you went into debt to get? It’s pretty worthless if you have not worked in years. (This is true regardless of whether or not you were married, but at least if you were married, you would hopefully have some community assets to get you through while you got back on your feet.) If he decides to kick you out of his house, you will need to support yourself and your child(ren) immediately. That is not easy to do.
- Don’t think you can just go back home to live with your parents if this happens to you if your parents don’t live nearby. Residency restrictions are almost always granted if one party requests it. A judge will likely not be sympathetic to your request to move far away so you can move in with your parents because you have no way of supporting yourself. The court’s priority is for the child to have regular access to both parents, which cannot happen if you move away.
You may be wondering why I limited this post to stay-at-home-moms instead of “stay-at-home-parents” or “stay-at-home-dads.” The reality is that it is women, not men, who make this mistake. I have never seen an unmarried man give up his career to stay home with a child while his girlfriend worked. I urge you to think long and hard before you go down this path.