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Postnuptial agreements can protect stay-at-home parents in divorce

While the role of stay-at-home parent is not as common as it once was, there are plenty of couples who choose to raise their children this way. There are many reasons why it might make sense for one parent to stay home with the children and forego a career. These could include high childcare costs, one spouse's high earning potential or just a decision to embrace more traditional child rearing practices.

If you have decided to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mom or dad, it's natural to have mixed feelings about it. After all, you are taking yourself out of the workforce during what may be your highest-earning years. If you want to protect yourself in the event of divorce, consider asking your spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement.

Even if you feel that a divorce is highly unlikely, a postnuptial agreement may nonetheless be beneficial. It is a recognition by both spouses of the work/career trade-offs you are making in order to be a full-time caregiver to your children.

By being a stay-at-home parent, you are not just giving up the paycheck you were earning. You are giving up professional contacts, promotions, work experience, bonuses and many other things one would pick up over the course of their career.

If you do ever get divorced, it will likely be difficult to re-enter the workforce at the salary and level that you had earned before you left your job. You may even need to go back to school to update your skills and catch up on current technology. Such contingencies could be addressed in your postnuptial agreement.

To be sure, being a stay-at-home parent could be the best decision you ever make. It may even improve your relationship with your spouse. But because divorce is now so common, it makes practical sense to put safeguards in place. If you want to learn more about postnuptial agreements or are ready to get started, please contact an experienced family law attorney.

Source: CNBC, "Why stay-at-home moms need a 'postnup'," Jeff Landers, Dec. 21, 2013

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