When a married couple makes the decision to have children, it goes without saying that there will be more than a few changes in their lives. For instance, the couple will have to make a very important decision concerning daycare: Will they pay someone to take care of their children during the day or will one of the parents decide to leave their job to become a full-time daycare provider?
While this sounds like an understandably inviting proposition to many parents, experts say that it’s nevertheless important for these prospective stay-at-home parents to consider what happens in the event they divorce from their spouse.
That’s because there is a distinct possibility that the divorce settlement ultimately reached will not fully account for the career sacrifices they made and/or their inability to simply resume work at the same salary level.
What then can stay-at-home parents do to adequately protect their best interests?
According to experts, stay-at-home parents may benefit considerably from the execution of a postnuptial agreement.
For those unfamiliar with postnuptial agreements, they are essentially the same as prenuptial agreements, meaning they are legally binding contracts that set forth certain rights and expectations in the event of divorce. The only difference is that a prenuptial agreement is executed before the marriage and a postnuptial agreement is executed after the couple is already married.
While the idea of executing a postnuptial agreement may not sound like the most inviting or romantic proposition, experts argue that taking this extra step can actually go a long way toward strengthening a marriage.
That’s because it allows the stay-at-home parent to feel confident about their decision moving forward, and, more importantly, know that their working spouse has a real understanding and appreciation for all the hard work that they are doing raising the children.
From a more practical standpoint, experts say, a postnuptial agreement ensures that a stay-at-home parent’s decision to leave the workplace at a time when their career is perhaps poised to take off won’t go unfairly compensated. Furthermore, it provides peace of mind to the stay-at-home parent, as they know they will have a buffer to offset the salary cut they will most likely have to take if forced to re-enter the workforce post-divorce.
What are your thoughts on stay-at-home parents executing postnuptial agreements?
If you would like to learn more about prenuptial agreements, divorce or other family law issues, you should strongly consider consulting with an experienced attorney who can outline your options and explain your rights.
Source: CNBC, “Why stay-at-home moms need a ‘postnup’,” Jeff Landers, Dec. 21, 2013