Lately, I have had multiple cases where the parties are in their late 30s to 40s and the wife is making significantly more money than the husband. To me, this seems to be the new trend. The typical viewpoint of the wife in these cases, is that not only are they earning more income than their husbands, but they are also primarily handling everything in the home place. The wife in these cases almost unanimously advise me that they are the primary caregiver to the children, the primary person to maintain and clean the home, and the person to primarily purchase any necessities for the home, such as food and prepare the meals.

Back when the trend seemed to be that husband’s primary role was to be a wage earner and wife’s primary role was to be the caregiver to the children and the home, the Tennessee General Assembly, our state legislature, designed the statute regarding the division of marital property to provide equal weight to both the wage earner and the caregiver of the home and the children when determining a fair and equitable division of any marital assets.

What are we, as attorneys to advise, when the proof may likely show that one person has carried the burden of both loads – primary wage earner and primary caregiver? The case law on this issue is sparse and mostly just approves the trial court’s division of assets.

In addition to having these cases walk in my door more frequently, I have also not had to go to trial with a single case where one person has carried the burden of both wage earner and caregiver. At least so far, these cases have been able to settle – sometimes because the husband is not willing to make a large issue out of alimony but also because the women in these cases have been typically willing to pay some small amount to avoid a contested hearing. Each situation is unique and should be assessed by an experienced family law attorney.

Jillyn (Pullara) O'Shaughnessy is a Director at Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C. where she provides strategic counsel on family law issues including, but not limited to, divorce, child custody, child support, paternity issues, prenuptial agreements, post-divorce modifications, and relocations. She strives to provide excellent yet affordable representation for her clients. Ms. O'Shaughnessy is fully cognizant and familiar with the difficult and emotional processes of a divorce. She focuses on achieving the best results for her clients without losing sight of the long-term effects that a divorce has on a family. Ms. O’Shaughnessy practices in Hamilton County and surrounding Tennessee Counties.

This blog is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship or provide legal advice. Please contact the author if you have any questions or comments regarding the subject matter.