I ran across this in an article on NBC News this morning. There are a whole lot of people in the Separation/Divorce forum who wish they had heeded this advice:
Prenups and postnups help form the foundation of a happy marriage. I understand how, at first, it may be difficult to believe that negotiating a postnup could actually make your marriage happier, but it’s true.
“Money” is often cited as one of the top reasons for tension in a marriage. It’s extremely difficult to agree about what to spend, how much to save, when/where to invest, etc. Why add arguments about career paths and earning potential to this volatile mix? Have those difficult conversations now, while you have a clear head — not years down the road, when you’re feeling frustrated after reading about a colleague’s big promotion while you stayed up all night with a kid who has a stomach bug.
As you draw up your postnup, both you and your husband can thoughtfully consider important factors, such as the amount of salary you’re sacrificing and the value (in dollars and cents) of the childcare you’re providing.
Because your postnup clearly defines the issues surrounding your decision to leave your job, it’s likely you’ll find it strengthens your marriage. It can blunt future disagreements and will form the basis for continued constructive dialogue about your family finances.
A woman’s child-rearing years are usually her highest-earning years. There’s no mistaking the cruel timing here. For most women, the phase of life devoted to child-rearing and the phase of life devoted to corporate-ladder-climbing tend to overlap.
So, when you leave the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom, you’ll also be walking away from a career that is just starting to gain traction. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to rewind the clock and get that time back. A postnup establishes how you’ll be financially compensated for those “lost years” if you and your husband end up divorcing.
When a stay-at-home mom re-enters the workforce, she’ll probably earn less than she did before. Let’s say you work exclusively as a stay-at-home mom for 10 years. During that decade, you’ll sacrifice more than just paychecks and promotions. You’ll also lose out on contacts and networking opportunities, and with the exponential advancements in technology these days, your skills will likely become rusty or obsolete. In short, your résumé will suffer as the workplace continues to evolve (without you). Put all of this together, and it’s clear that after your stint as a stay-at-home mom, your earning potential will be significantly diminished.
I’ve heard divorcing husbands chide their wives with mistaken statements like, “Before you stayed home you were making $50,000 a year, so you can go out and get a job for that, if not more” and “Well, it’s not my fault. It was your choice. You wanted to have children. You wanted to stay home with them. You could have gone out and worked, and in the meanwhile I was busting my rear end, and why are you entitled to any of this?”
Of course, these husbands are choosing to ignore the way the real world works — and comments like these just underscore why I feel postnups for stay-at-home moms are so absolutely critical.
If you are ready to explore the option of a postnup, talk to a family law attorney and a divorce financial expert for advice. Do it for yourself, and for the health of your marriage.
If your spouse is sincere in the wish to R, they will not balk at this.
Sending strength and peace.