When it comes to the division of assets after a marriage has ended, the process will go much more smoothly if the divorcing couple has a prenuptial agreement. Most people are familiar with prenuptial agreements – they are legal documents that allow an engaged couple to agree on property expectations in the event of a divorce. However, there are other documents that can accomplish a similar task after the couple is married. These documents are known as postnuptial agreements, or postnups, and they can be especially advantageous for stay-at-home moms that put a lucrative career on hold in order to raise children.

A stay-at-home mom stands to lose a lot of money by giving up many years of potential earnings. In a happy marriage, this may not seem like a problem at all. However, if the relationship goes downhill, a divorce settlement will probably not include compensation for lost work time. Also, a stay-at-home mom will likely not be able to easily get back into the career she put on hold. A postnup can help a couple agree on a fair amount that the stay-at-home mom should receive in the event of a divorce.

It may initially seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, but discussing a postnup may actually make your marriage happier. Money is one of the most cited reasons for divorce. Arguments over spending, saving and investing can create a lot of tension in a relationship. Discussing earning potential and career goals can be most beneficial while both parties have a clear head, rather than doing it as part of other financial arguments.

It’s also just an unfortunate reality that the years in which a woman stays at home to raise a child are also likely the years in which she would make the most money. A prenup can help compensate a woman for the lost years in her career if their marriage ends in divorce. Paychecks, promotions, networking and advancements in technology can all be missed while raising a child, making it even harder to get a job when the child is grown.

Some husbands may not initially be receptive to the idea, but it may be necessary if the marriage is fraught with financial disagreements. A family law attorney can help provide advice if you think a postnup may be beneficial for your situation.

Source: CNBC, “Why stay-at-home moms need a ‘postnup’” Jeff Landers, Dec. 21, 2013