Having a child can drastically change one’s life. When a married couple has a baby, several difficult decisions must be made. The couple must figure out how to pay for the child’s needs while determining whether one parent will stay at home with the child. The decision to quit one’s job to stay home with children is a hard one to make, and one that can have serious financial consequences in the event of a divorce.
One reason becoming a stay-at-home parent can be risky is because it prohibits that parent from advancing his or her career. Thus, if and when the time comes for the parent to reenter the workforce, it may be difficult to find a job and one that pays adequately. Also, a couple considering living off of one spouse’s income should consider how the changed financial dynamic will affect their relationship. Will the working spouse resent the move? Will the stay-at-home parent feel guilty or as if he or she is not contributing enough from a financial standpoint? While these questions are important to ask, perhaps a more important issue to consider is what happens in the event of a divorce.
Since quitting a job to raise a child can have a drastic impact on an individual’s ability to earn a living, it may be important to consider a post-nuptial agreement. Differing from a prenuptial agreement only in that it occurs after marriage, a post-nuptial agreement can set the financial parameters of a couple in the event they decide to get divorced.
The agreement can address how existing property including pensions and retirement plans and business assets will be divided and it can also address whether alimony will be paid or if a waiver of alimony will occur upon dissolution. By completing such an agreement, a parent who decides to quit his or her job to stay at home with children can rest assured his or her financial interests are protected in the event of a divorce.
A Massachusetts Family Law Attorney can help a couple decide whether or not a post-nuptial agreement is in their best interest and, if so, he or she can help draft the necessary documents. Careful consideration of all divorce legal issues may be necessary to avoid any unwanted consequences should a divorce occur. By consulting with a family law attorney, the couple can put their minds at ease that they can take actions they believe are best for their family while at the same time protecting their own financial safety.
Source: Forbes, “Why You Need A Postnup And Other Points To Consider Before Leaving Your Paid Job To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom,” Jeff Landers, Jan. 22, 2014