Postnuptial agreements – they’re all the rage!
Just kidding, no they’re not.
We’ve all heard of the prenup.
But what about the postnup?
Yes, that is what some lawyers are recommending for spouses who put their careers on hold to have their children.
Prenuptial agreements have become so common among the 1 percent they are considered practically a given. But postnuptial agreements, those negotiated after a marriage has already taken place, are still rarities and an object of curiosity for much of the population. According to experts, however, their popularity is growing. In a 2012 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 51 percent of divorce attorneys cited a rise in postnuptial agreements during the past three years. Perhaps an even more interesting number is the 36 percent of attorneys who noted an increase in wives initiating the requests.
Indeed, all women who do not have prenuptial agreements and who leave a lucrative career to become stay-at-home mothers should request a postnuptial agreement, said Jeff Landers, a financial expert and author of Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally. “I have seen too many women get the short end of the stick,” Landers said. “The husbands turn around and say, ‘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, the husband, was busting my rear end, and why are you entitled to any of this?’ Or they say, ‘Before you stayed home you were making $50,000 a year, so you can certainly go out and get a job for that amount, if not more.” The Daily Beast.
Hold your comments.
Properly defined, ‘A postnuptial agreement is a written contract executed after a couple gets married, or have entered a civil union, to settle the couple’s affairs and assets in the event of a separation or divorce.’ – Wikipedia.
And while today I am focusing on stay-at-home moms, the few women I interviewed for this post feel postnups go beyond the stay-at-home mom. They feel they go for everyone.
But here is the ON THE FENCE QUESTION OF THE DAY: If your husband (we’ll say for the sake of today’s post) is out there earning big bucks while you gave up a lucrative career to “hold down the fort” and “mother the children” — you’re doing the homework with the kids, chauffeuring them around from ballet to soccer, making the meals, carpooling, reading the bedtime stories, wiping scraped knees in the park, are you not entitled to half as his partner? This is why some attorneys argue that the wife who gives up her high earning years should be properly compensated should the marriage end.
Stay with me, I’m going to digress for a little…
Did any of you read Primates of Park Avenue, this summer’s New York Times Bestseller?
“In her book “Primates of Park Avenue,” New York writer Wednesday Martin sensationally reveals the trend for bankers’ wives to receive so-called “wife bonuses” — a percentage of their husband’s company bonus in return for managing the household and supporting him in his career.” (New York Post)
Kinda like, “You’re in this great position cuz of me, buddy. I’m supporting your career and your kids, so that you can go out and make money with little responsibility at home. I’m entitled to some of that bonus.”
Whether you agree or not is secondary.
While many view postnups as the problem of the “rich,” you could argue that it’s important for any dual working couple. The point is, many women who give up their careers are basically also giving up years of earnings they may never be able to see again. Why? She loses her roster of contacts, her connections, her business savoir faire while out of the workforce. In the event of divorce, should this loss of revenue not be considered? In all actuality, a prenup would in essence have done the trick, but what if she didn’t sign one?
Enter the postnup.
After speaking with my girlfriend Divorce Attorney Carolyn Polak for this piece, she summed it up for us in a nutshell, “As uncomfortable as it may seem to discuss compensation when a parent is about to leave the workforce to care for children, it’s a lot less comfortable pleading for this recognition in a lawyer’s office or, worse yet, a court room. A well thought out and well drafted postnuptial agreement eliminates surprises. It recognizes that work in the home is arduous, important and quantifiable.”
I remind you, this is not my area of expertise. I am merely a Certified Life Coach, not a divorce attorney. But I am a Lifestyle Blogger and wanted to bring this topic to you. Would you ever consider asking your husband to sign a postnup? Please, let’s discuss.