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How does stay-at-home parenting fit into property division?

When couples reach the decision to divorce, financial matters might be among the first things each spouse considers. Couples typically accumulate assets together during the course of their marriage and must try to untangle them during the course of divorce. As each spouse tries to figure out his or her post-divorce needs, there may be questions about exactly how to formulate the financial settlement.

In cases where both spouses have maintained a steady income while being married, property division matters couple be slightly less complex because each individual can expect to have steady income after divorce. This situation for a stay-at-home parent, however, might be a little different.

When a person decides to stay at home to raise children, he or she may also being putting a career on hold. Certainly, some parents are more than willing to do so, but having to resume a career after divorce may be easier said than done. Moreover, it may be difficult to receive adequate compensation after spending years away from the working world.

One family law observer suggests stay-at-home parents should get a postnuptial agreement. This way, financial questions are cleared up just in case divorce becomes a reality. With this agreement in place, each spouse can have assurance of their financial positioning after divorce.

At the same time, a prenuptial agreement could address the same concern. Even if a couple hasn’t discussed their parenting plan, it can be a great way to be prepared for life’s twists and turns.

Bringing up the subject of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may not always be easy. After all, a happily engaged or married couple might not want to discuss the potential for divorce. The important thing to remember, however, is that these legal agreements are essentially a form of insurance. Determining what is a fair settlement may be an easier conclusion to reach when couples aren't in midst of divorce proceedings.

Source: CNBC, "Why stay-at-home moms need a 'postnup'," Jeff Landers, Dec. 21, 2013

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