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Postnup could prevent regret among stay-at-home parents

It is almost a miracle when a family can manage to have one parent serve as a stay-at-home parent to raise the kids. So many men and women have crazy debt to pay off and/or don't earn enough at their jobs to make it by with a one-income household.

For those who can afford to have a stay-at-home mom or dad, a financial advisor suggests the money and logistics conversation shouldn't end so quickly. Before one party moves forward with giving up his or her job, the couple should create a postnuptial agreement.

Spouses who give up their jobs to stay at home with the kids aren't just giving up a job; they are giving up careers. The general child-rearing years are also the years when one's career is built and is most lucrative.

Once the kids are old enough to not need a stay-at-home parent and the parents want to return to work, parents aren't as competitive as they once were. They've sacrificed a lot from a professional, money-earning level to care for the kids and household. Parents might have wonderful memories and kids to show for that sacrifice, but those benefits won't sustain someone financially if a marriage ends in divorce.

Deciding to be a one-income household is a serious, mutual decision. Both spouses should be on the same page about what that financial decision means for their marriage but also in the case of divorce. A postnuptial agreement could clarify matters such as property division and alimony and reflect the sacrifice that stay-at-home moms and dads made when choosing to put their careers on hold.

Arizona is a community property state, which means that income earned during the course of the marriage is considered shared, even if one party doesn't technically work. Community property laws, however, might not satisfy some people's ideas of what money they deserve following divorce. A postnup could serve to address those possible shortcomings in Arizona's property division laws.

 

Source: Today, "Do stay-at-home moms need a 'postnup'?" Jeff Landers, Dec. 18, 2013

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