Stay-At-Home Spouses: Should You Consider a Postnup?

The beginning of a new year often brings on many changes for California families looking to make a fresh start. Some people may be considering a career change while others may decide to start or expand a family. These can be significant and positive life changes that can dramatically alter a couple’s relationship, which is why couples who are making big changes this year may want to consider discussing a postnuptial agreement.

Many people may be familiar with a prenuptial agreement, which is a document signed before a marriage that lays out certain expectations, property rights and other specifications that may need to be addressed in the event of a divorce. But what is a postnuptial agreement, and why should people who are making a significant life change consider signing one?

To begin with, a postnuptial agreement is very similar to a prenuptial agreement, but it is completed after a couple is married. A postnup can be very helpful if a couple has gone through or plans to go through significant changes which could impact their individual rights and financial stability. A strong example of when a couple may want to consider a postnup is when they decide that one spouse will give up a career to stay at home with the children.

Staying at home instead of working is certainly still work. However, it is not compensated in the same way and it can take a person out of the workforce, away from career growth for years at a time. And these years are generally considered to be a person’s highest-earning years. This can have a dramatic impact on that spouse’s future careers and earning potential, which could undoubtedly affect his or her financial stability if a couple gets divorced.

That is why some people in this position draw up a postnuptial agreement with the help of a family law attorney. This document can clearly address financial participation concerns and specify how a stay-at-home parent who gave up a career will be compensated in the future in the event of a divorce.

Source:, “Do stay-at-home moms need a ‘postnup’?” Jeff Landers, Dec. 18, 2013

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