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If you’re already married and didn’t go the route of the prenuptial agreement, you do have another option—the postnuptial agreement.
A postnup is often trickier than a prenup because you are already married, but it offers an excellent form of protection in case certain events take place, and it really gives you control over your finances if your marriage does come to an end. It can also provide some protections in the event that one of the spouses in a marriage is to pass away.
Just because you’re working on a postnup doesn’t mean your marriage is on the fast track to demise. In fact, it can be quite the opposite and many couples find a postnup to be a great way to work on issues, regain that feeling of a partnership, and to cement a sense of control over the future.
The Case of the Stay-At-Home Parent
One of the biggest reasons couples in Rhode Island can and should consider the creation of a postnup is when one of the parents leaves the workforce to care for the couple’s children.
Often at the start of a marriage, both parties are working and contributing financially to the relationship, but once children come along one spouse may decide it’s in the family’s best interest to stay home and take care of the kids on a fulltime basis.
This is most commonly thought of as being something a mom does, but increasingly more dads are also leaving the workforce to become fulltime parents.
In the past, it was the belief that a judge would decide in favor of a stay-at-home mom (or dad), and grant them alimony and child support to keep them living the life they were accustomed to during marriage, but this is no longer necessarily true.
Concepts like lifetime alimony are all but completely gone in the court system, and instead more judges are deciding in favor of short-term financial support until the spouse who left the workforce can again find employment.
So what should you do to protect yourself if you’re thinking about leaving the workforce? A postnup is a great option. It’s a good time for you and your spouse to sit down, talk about what would be fair in terms of finances if you were to get a divorce, and whichever spouse is leaving the workforce can feel more secure about their decision.
Along with the major life change that is becoming a stay-at-home parent, couples may also opt for a postnup if something major happens that impacts the finances of one member of the relationship—for example a huge promotion, or a big inheritance.
These weren’t issues you may have faced as a new couple, so even if you do have a prenup it could be irrelevant at this point in your life. A postnup becomes a good option to cover these changes that have occurred since the start of your marriage.
One of the other reasons postnups are picking up steam is because of couples’ reliance on them to solve daily issues, from where to spend holidays to how to divide household duties.
Lawyers don’t necessarily advocate the use of prenups for purposes like those, but for some couples creating a contract to resolve daily issues is a good way to actually avoid divorce and get their marriage back on solid footing.
Regardless of the reason, if you think a postnup may be the right choice for your marriage, contact an experienced Rhode Island family lawyer who can guide both you and your spouse through the process and ensure a smooth and seamless contract is created with both of your best interests central to the process.
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