Are postnups essential? Yes, especially for stay-at-home parents

Most people have heard of prenuptial agreements-contracts couples enter into prior to getting married that stipulate property and other rights in the event of a divorce or separation. But, in many cases, situations change after a couple gets married and these situations may not be fully understood or accounted for in a prenup marital agreement.

A case in point involves children. When a couple decides to have children, one parent may leave his or her job to stay home with the kids. Given the rising costs of daycare in the United States today, this is commonplace.

But, thorough considerations for a stay-at-home parent who leaves a high paying job isn't always stipulated in the prenup. Experts urge couples who decide to have one parent stay home to raise the children consider entering into a postnuptial agreement -an agreement similar to a prenup but is executed after a couple has married.

Recognizing earnings for "lost years"

The time a parent typically leaves his or her job to stay home and raise a child usually coincides with that person's prime earning years with open potential to climb the corporate ladder and increase earnings.

But many fail to understand that in the event of a divorce, a stay-at-home parent is unlikely to be able to jump right back into the workforce and pick off where he or she left off-not to mention earn the same salary or one equivalent after inflation.

Addressing these compensation issues early on via a postnup agreement can alleviate any problems or resentment for the stay-at-home parent in case of a divorce. Much like compensation for "lost future wages" received in a personal or workplace injury, a postnuptial agreement too can recognize an individual's lost earning years and stipulate compensation in a postnup during the period of time the stay-at-home parent wasn't able to work.

Objectivity

Experts advise that couples enter into a postnup regarding compensation for the stay-at-home parent as soon as possible.

In any situation, it's much easier to make decisions about an event when a person is not stuck right in the middle of the stressful situation. This is also true for couples in the midst of a divorce. Those who enter into a postnup with a clear mind will be more able to make fair and objective decisions as they relate to considerations for the stay-at-home parent.

The help of a family law attorney

It's important for couples entering into both prenup and postnup marital agreements to understand that the agreements must be tailored to the specific circumstances of the couple. Seeking the assistance of a family law attorney to help in the drafting process is advised.